The United States Embassy in Cairo will be closed this Sunday as Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Egypt for a series of high-level meetings as part of his first overseas tour.
"We regret that the U.S. Embassy Consular Section will be closed to the general public on Sunday, March 3," the U.S. Embassy in Cairo said in a statement on its website. "Only emergency U.S. citizen services will be provided and U.S. citizens needing those services can contact the American Citizen Services Unit."
The unusual closure has led some foreign policy observers to ask if the U.S. believes it is unsafe to keep the embassy open upon Kerry's arrival. Kerry's stop in Cairo is part of a nine-nation tour that includes visits to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
"The U.S. just gave Egypt four F-16 Fighting Falcons with Lockheed Martin Advanced Targeting Pods and Raytheon electronic jamming suites," said one D.C. foreign policy insider.
"Later this year we're going to give them a couple hundred M1A1 Abrams. It speaks volumes that we don't even feel safe keeping our embassy open while our secretary of state is in town. Let's not pretend that this country is a stable ally."
"Clearly, there is a credible security threat to the secretary's visit that prompted the regional security officer to recommend and the ambassador to approve closing the embassy," said one Senate aide familiar with State Department procedure.