US Supports Egypt’s Democratic Transition

CAIRO (AFP) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threw Washington's weight behind Egypt's democratic transition Saturday in talks with new President Mohamed Morsi, laying out plans for economic help to the country.

''I have come to Cairo to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and their democratic transition,'' Clinton told a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr after her meeting with Morsi.

''We want to be a good partner. We want to support the democracy that has been achieved by the courage and sacrifice of the Egyptian people, and to see a future of great potential be realised,'' she said.

During her two-day visit, the top US diplomat will also meet Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi -- the country's interim military ruler after Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year.

Clinton steps into the political maelstrom of a complex power struggle between the Islamist president and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) that ruled Egypt after Mubarak was toppled.

Last week, Morsi ordered parliament to convene, defying a military decision to disband the house after the country's top court ruled it invalid.

''Democracy is hard,'' Clinton said. ''It requires dialogue and compromise and real politics. We are encouraged and we want to be helpful. But we know that it is not for the United States to decide, it is for the Egyptian people to decide.''

Clinton's meeting with Morsi, a longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood, comes after Egypt's first free presidential elections following the ouster of decades-old US ally Mubarak. ''We are very, very keen to meet you and happy you are here,'' Morsi told Clinton as they met at the presidential palace in Cairo's upmarket Heliopolmet district.

With the economy in a shambles due to a fall in tourism and a lack of growth, Clinton outlined economic support ''to help Egypt stabilize its economy and to use debt relief to foster innovation, growth and job creation.''

She unveiled plans for $250 million in loan guarantees to Egyptian small and medium-sized businesss, as well as setting up a US-Egypt enterprise fund with some $60 million in capital. It was her first meeting with Morsi since he took the oath of office.

Morsi's decree was applauded by supporters who believed the court's decision to disband parliament was political, but it set off a firestorm of criticism from opponents who accused him of overstepping his authority.

His decision was seen as an opening shot in a power struggle between Egypt's first civilian leader and the Mubarak-appointed generals who wanted to retain broad powers even after they transferred control on June 30. But on Wednesday, the president said he would respect a court ruling overturning his decree, in an apparent bid to mollify an infuriated judiciary and the military.

Clinton said the United States supported the full transition to civilian rule, but added she wanted to commend the military council, or SCAF, ''for representing the Egyptian people in the revolution.'' ''As compared to what we are seeing in Syria which is the military murdering their own people, the SCAF here protected the Egyptian nation,'' and had overseen free elections, Clinton said.

Several hundred protesters meanwhile gathered outside the US embassy and later Clinton's hotel to denounce what they said was ''US interference in domestic affairs,'' the official MENA news agency reported.

Clinton will also focus on the protection of religious minorities and of women, and was due to travel Tuesday to the port city of Alexandria to visit women activists and Coptic leaders. The post-revolution rise of the Islamists has raised fears among women and among the country's 10-million-strong Christian community that their rights could be rolled back.

Morsi has repeatedly pledged to be a president for ''all Egyptians'' and said he would appoint a woman and a Christian as his deputies. During the visit, Clinton will also seek assurances that the key US Middle East ally will continue to uphold a peace treaty with Israel signed in 1979. The treaty had ''allowed a generation to grow up without knowing war and on this foundation, we will work together to build a just comprehensive regional peace in the Middle East,'' Clinton said.

Cairo (dpa) - US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that her country was strongly supporting Egypt's democratic transition and economic development. ''I have come to Cairo to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and their democratic transition,'' Clinton said after talks with President Mohammed Morsi.

The meeting was the first between Clinton and Morsi, who took office late last month as Egypt's first elected civilian and Islamist president. ''We want to be a good partner and we want to support the democracy that has been achieved by the courage and sacrifice of the Egyptian people,'' Clinton told reporters.

She added that she had commended Morsi for his promises to be a president for all Egyptians and to protect rights of women and minorities. Clinton said the US would grant Egypt 250 million dollars in credit guarantees for trade and would create a 60-million-dollar investment fund for the Middle Eastern country. A high-level US delegation will visit Egypt in September to explore business and trade opportunities in the country, according to the US official.

Clinton is due Sunday to meet with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the powerful Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Clinton, who arrived in Cairo on Saturday for the two-day visit, will also meet with senior government officials, civil society representatives, and business leaders during her visit, which will take her through Cairo, as well as to the country's second city Alexandria.

Scores of activists Saturday held protests outside the presidential palace and the US embassy in Cairo to protest Washington's foreign policy and the so-called ''US-Islamist alliance'' allegedly permitting American interference in Egyptians' national affairs.

The US has been an long-time ally of Egypt, with 1.5 billion dollars of aid given annually to Cairo, most of which goes to the military

Clinton's visit comes as Morsi is caught in a perceived power struggle with the military, who ruled the country for around 16 months following the ouster of Hosny Mubarak last year. Clinton said after talks with Morsi that the US supports a full transition to civilian rule in Egypt.

Morsi is also locked in a deepening row with the judiciary after he reinstated the parliament, which had been invalidated by the country's top court. The parliament was dominated by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group, and other Islamist allies.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

  • Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR
    Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR

    Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider a proposed special tax exemption for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in his much-awaited fight with Floyd Mayweather. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday it will have to be discussed by Congress because lawmakers are the ones who enact tax exemptions, special or general. Pacquiao has been dogged by unsettled tax obligations with the BIR. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • Phl now biggest grower of GM crops
    Phl now biggest grower of GM crops

    The Philippines is now the twelfth biggest grower of genetically modified (GM) crops. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options