HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday urged Egypt’s Islamist president and its military to settle their differences for the good of Egypt’s people, or risk seeing their nation’s democratic transition derailed.
Egypt’s newly elected President Mohammed Morsi is locked in conflict with the powerful military over whether the country’s legislature should reconvene after a court ruling last month dissolved it. It’s the latest crisis in nearly 17 months of political drama since last year’s overthrow of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.
Speaking in Vietnam, Clinton refused to take sides in the simmering dispute. She cited Egypt’s progress, as evidenced by competitive elections and the first popularly elected president in the country’s “very long history.” But she stressed that much more needed to be done.
“Democracy not just about elections,” she told reporters. “It is about creating vibrant, inclusive political dialogue; listening to civil society; having good relations between civilian officials and military officials, where each is working to serve the interests of the citizens.”
Delivering a cautionary message, Clinton said, “We strongly urge dialogue and a concerted effort on the part of all to try to deal with the problems that are understandable, but have to be resolved in order to avoid the kind of difficulties that could derail the transition that is going on.”
The military handed power to the new president on June 30 after guiding the transition for 16 months. But the generals did so only after the country’s top court dissolved the parliament dominated by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party and pushed through an interim constitution granting themselves sweeping powers.
The Egyptian parliament convened Tuesday for about five minutes. Speaker Saad El-Katatni told lawmakers that the legislature met to find ways to implement the ruling rather than debate it out of respect for the principle of “the supremacy of the law and separation of authorities.”
The lawmakers then approved el-Katatni’s proposal that the parliament seek legal advice from a high appeals court on how to implement the supreme court’s ruling. He then adjourned the session.
Clinton, whose two-week foreign tour will take her to Egypt this weekend, said she looked forward to meetings with Morsi and other Egyptian officials to hear what they have to say. She said the U.S. remains committed to working with Egypt’s government and civil society to help the country complete its democratic transition and deal with its struggling economy and deteriorating security situation.
After three decades of close cooperation with Egypt’s authoritarian leader Mubarak, the Obama administration has sought to redefine U.S. relations with Egypt. It has championed democratic change while still trying to safeguard American interests, from cooperating with Cairo on counterterrorism to ensuring Israel’s security.
Clinton called on all sides in Egypt to come together.
“Democracy really is about empowering citizens to determine the direction of their own country,” she said. “We urge that there be intensive dialogue among all of the stakeholders in order to ensure there is a clear path for them to be following and that the Egyptian people get what they protested for and what they voted for, which is a fully elected government making the decisions.”
More Related Stories
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- 2 more arrested in London attacks
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11