Remarks in Egypt

William J. Burns
Under Secretary for Political Affairs 
Cairo, Egypt
June 30, 2011

Reuters Soundbite

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I don't know all the details of what transpired last night. I know the Prime Minister announced earlier today that there will be a thorough investigation of what happened. Obviously what was central to the revolution that emerged out of Tahrir square in January, was the tremendous peaceful determination of Egyptians to realize their aspirations? It's extremely important; it seems to us, but more importantly to Egyptians to continue to pursue peacefully those kinds of aspirations. So we hope that the investigation that has been announced will be a fair and thorough one and that the political transition that's underway can unfold in a peaceful way.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I emphasized throughout those discussions [with Egyptian leaders] American support for open and inclusive political process in Egypt, the importance of following through on the commitment to lift the Emergency Law before the elections. The importance of protecting freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: It's very important, I think, to the future of Egypt's democratic transition… it's also important when abuses have occurred, such as those at the Egyptian museum last spring, that they're investigated thoroughly, and that those responsible are held accountable. So I don't mean to suggest that this is a neat and easy process but I think the reform of the security sector needs to continue to be a high priority.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: We're determined to do everything we can to help support Egypt's economic recovery, in part because we recognize the connection between creating economic hope and a successful democratic transition. And so that's why we've tried to look very practically at ideas like debt relief, and what that can help produce, particularly for Egyptian youth, to give them a sense of hope, to create jobs, to equip students and young people with the kind of skills and education that they need to be able to compete.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, we've certainly expressed again during my visit as the President and Secretary Clinton have reinforced before, our support for an open and inclusive electoral process and political transition in Egypt. It's the business of Egyptians to decide complicated questions like sequence and pace of elections, and there's a healthy debate, as you've mentioned, amongst a lot of thoughtful Egyptians about the best way to organize that.