Clinton meets with Morsi in Egypt

July 14, 2012 at 11:23 PM
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CAIRO, July 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called her meeting with newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo Saturday "constructive."

In a joint appearance with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr in Cairo, Clinton told reporters her meeting with Morsi as "a very thorough conversation about a number of important issues confronting Egypt and the region."

"This afternoon, President Morsi and I began a constructive dialogue about the broad, enduring relationship between the United States and Egypt for the 21st century," she said. "We discussed the challenges ahead and how the United States and Egypt can work together in a spirit of mutual respect and mutual interests.

"First, we discussed how the United States can support the Egyptian people and their aspirations and in particular the economic package outlined by President Obama to relieve up to $1 billion in Egypt's debt as its democratic transition moves forward," she said.

She said as Egypt takes steps to shore up its economy, the United States will support it further, including $250 million in loan guarantees to Egyptian small-and-medium-sized businesses.

The administration also will send "a high-level delegation of American businesses" in September to explore investment and trade opportunities, she said.

In addition, she announced the creation of a $60 million U.S.-Egypt enterprise fund that will be run by Egyptian and American business leaders.

"Second, the president and I discussed the importance of keeping Egypt's democratic transition moving forward, and I commended him on his pledge to serve all Egyptians, including women and minorities and to protect the rights of all Egyptians," Clinton said. "President Morsi made clear that he understands the success of his presidency and, indeed, of Egypt's democratic transition depends on building consensus across the Egyptian political spectrum, to work on a new constitution at Parliament, to protect civil society, to draft a new constitution that will be respected by all, and to assert the full authority of the presidency.

"And thirdly, we discussed Egypt's role as a leader in the region. I commended the president for going to the African Union Summit to reassert Egyptian leadership in Africa and emphasized the importance of upholding Egypt's international agreements.

"More than three decades ago, Egypt and Israel signed a treaty that has 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 based on two states for two people with peace, security, and dignity for all.

"We believe America's shared strategic interest with Egypt far outnumber our differences. And we know that Egypt's future is up to the Egyptian people, but 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 realized for the nearly 90 million people of Egypt who are expecting that to occur."

The meeting came amid political turmoil in Egypt.

In a decree Sunday, Morsi reinstated Parliament, revoking the Supreme Council of Armed Forces' June 15 order that Parliament be dissolved.

But after a 12-minute session of Parliament Tuesday, the High Constitutional Court rejected the presidential decree.

Protesters have demanded annulment of the supplementary constitutional declaration under which the military council assumed the powers of the disbanded Parliament until new elections, and called on the council to hand over full power to Morsi.

Parliament had been dominated by Morsi's Islamist allies.

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