US presses wary ally Egypt on Israel, democracy

By BRADLEY KLAPPER | September 28, 2011 | 1:30 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is pressing Egypt to bolster relations with Israel and continue on the path toward democracy.

The State Department says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will speak about Egypt's ties with its neighbors and plans for November parliamentary elections when she meets Egyptian Foreign Minister Muhammed Amr on Wednesday.

Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said "it is obviously a very important time in Egypt."

She said the U.S. and Egypt have a "broad and deep relationship" and that the Obama administration is helping Egypt in its democratic transformation.

Nuland also praised Egypt's authorities for working to defuse tensions with Israel after the recent storming of the Jewish state's embassy in Cairo.

Clinton's meeting takes place amid deep concern in the U.S. over Egypt's direction.