Clinton in Cairo to Discuss Egypt’s Political Transition

Posted July 14th, 2012 at 6:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she has reaffirmed U.S. support for Egypt's political transition in a meeting on Saturday with newly-inaugurated President Mohamed Morsi.

In a news conference after the meeting, Clinton said the United States wanted to be helpful but that “it was for the Egyptian people to decide” how the transition played out.

VOA correspondent Scott Stearns, who is traveling with Clinton, says the U.S. has also pledged economic assistance.

“During the transition over the last year, Egypt's economy has suffered both in a lack of growth and a drop in tourism. U.S. officials say Washington has a variety of tools that can help stabilize the economy.”

Clinton also announced a $60-million enterprise fund for small- and medium-sized businesses and $250 million in private sector loan guarantees.

During her two-day visit, the secretary of state will also meet with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces .

President Morsi has been involved in a power struggle with Egypt's military leaders who took control of the country after President Hosni Mubarak's resignation last year.

The military leaders moved to limit the powers of the country's first civilian president. They also backed a Supreme Court decision, last month, to dissolve parliament. The court said some members were elected illegally.

Meanwhile, dozens of people protested outside the presidential palace in Cairo as Clinton arrived on Saturday. Hundreds more gathered outside the hotel where the secretary was expected to stay. They voiced opposition to what they viewed as U.S. interference in the country's political affairs.

Clinton arrived in Egypt following a weeklong tour of Asia. She also will visit Israel before returning to Washington.