Clinton Meets with Morsi, Tantawi in Cairo
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated her calls for consensus building in Egypt to work towards a full transition during her meeting with President Mohammed Morsi Saturday in Cairo. Clinton is in Egypt for a two day visit to meet with senior political, military, religious, civil society, and business leaders, both in the capital and in Alexandria. In the meetings, Clinton will promise continued U.S. economic support through aid, debt relief, and investment. The Secretary’s remarks with Morsi, however, were more tempered than previous statements calling for an immediate transfer of power, reflecting what a State Department official called “a growing sense that American attempts to intercede may be futile” given pervasive suspicion of American motives. Clinton also reportedly scrapped her plan for a speech on democracy to be given in Alexandria Monday due to similar concerns.
After meeting with Morsi, Clinton held a press conference with Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, where she said the time had come for the military to let Morsi assume his full powers, but also credited the military for their role in the revolution. Clinton also called on Egypt to continue to respect the 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Then on Sunday, Clinton also sat down for an hour long discussion with Field Marshall Mohamad Hussein Tantawi, where they reportedly discussed issues of transition but also the protection of women and minorities. Outside Clinton’s hotel, as well as at the American Embassy, hundreds of demonstrators with different concerns protested her visit and U.S. involvement in Egypt. The Egyptian Orthodox and Evangelical churches refused to meet with Clinton over similar concerns of American interference, although her visit with the Coptic community in Alexandria is still on schedule.
Elisa Massinimo writing in Foreign Policy called on Secretary Clinton to cement her legacy as a champion of women’s rights by standing up to the Muslim Brotherhood’s discriminatory policies. Massinimo argues that by living up to her reputation, Clinton can overcome skepticism of American interests in Egypt. Also, Bradley Klapper examines the difficult spot the U.S. finds itself in as it seeks to defend democracy in Egypt but ensure stability.