Hillary: Egypt Reform Must Not Create Instability

Tuesday, 08 Feb 2011 07:56 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Egyptian constitutional reform is not contrary to maintaining stability in that country and the region. But, she acknowledged to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, “there are many ways this could go that are not in the best interests of Egypt, the region, or the United States.”

hillary, egypt“I think it's important to recognize that for 30 years, American governments – both Republican and Democratic administrations, certainly this administration under President Obama -- have urged the government of Egypt to do more on economic reform and political reform, because we believe that that kind of effort to democratize and create economic opportunity is in the best interests of long-term stability,” Clinton told Van Susteren, in an interview broadcast Monday, following her weekend attendance at the Munich Security Conference.

“So it's not a choice between democracy, open markets and stability, and security. It does have to go together,” Clinton said, adding neither the United States, nor any other country, can make decisions for the Egyptian people. “We want to see the process that has begun realize concrete steps that will lead to constitutional reform, the establishment of a set of political laws and regulations, that will end in a free and fair election for a new president.”

Clinton said the United States wants to make sure protestors’ voices are not suppressed and violence that has ripped Egypt for more than two weeks ends.

“We are very clear, no violence by the government, peaceful protests, orderly transition,” Clinton said. “But we recognize – as do many of those who are now stepping forward from the opposition, civil society, political factions – that the country has to come together and reach an agreement about how best to proceed, because there are many ways this could go that are not in the best interests of Egypt, the region, or the United States. At the end, we know we want to see a peaceful and orderly transition. How we get there is going to be up to the Egyptians themselves.”

Van Susteren asked what happens if President Hosni Mubarak leaves, the Egyptians elect someone that does not agree with U.S. strategic interests, and rejects the peace treaty with Israel.

“Well, we care deeply that what comes next in Egypt respects international agreements, including the peace treaty with Israel,” Clinton said. “We obviously would like to see responsible leadership in Egypt that recognizes it's not in their interests to tear up a peace treaty, while they're trying to rebuild an economy, try to open up opportunities for young people, and engage in political reform that leads to democracy.”

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