Background Briefing

Cairo, Egypt
July 15, 2012

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So we are in Cairo. The Secretary is spending the day talking to Egyptian civil society. She had a chance to meet young entrepreneurs this morning. Then she had a meeting with about 10 Egyptian Christians representing the full spectrum of Copts and Catholics and others. I think we’ve put out a list of who was there. And she’s now having a meeting with women leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, NGO leaders, et cetera.

And this was very much designed to hear from civil society representatives about how their aspirations, their expectations in the transition, for her to have a chance to brief them and explain to them what we’re trying to do to support the kick-starting of the Egyptian economy, and to make absolutely clear where we stand on this political transition, which is that we support a full transition to civilian democratic rule and a constitution that protects the human rights and freedoms of all Egyptians – majority, minority, regardless of religion or lack of religion, regardless of background.

There has been in the body politic here in the last period some suspicion, some assertion, and we heard some of that today. And there’s been a statement put out that somehow the U.S. has put its finger on the scale in favor of one side or another in this transition, and she wanted in very, very clear terms – particularly with the Christian group this morning – to dispel that notion and to make clear that only Egyptians can choose their leaders, that we have not supported any candidate, any party, and we will not, but what we do support is a full transition to democratic civilian governance here, including equal rights under the law for all groups. And she was very interested in hearing from the Christian group this morning about their concerns, the kinds of protections they want to ensure are truly guaranteed in this transition and the work that they are trying to do together.

She, as she always does when she meets with activists, encouraged them to be full participants in the political life of their country, that they have to be active if they want to protect the rights and freedoms that they seek.

QUESTION: This full transition to civilian rule, how did that part of the conversation go in totality?

QUESTION: Are we on back --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Let’s finished the background there, okay? All right?

QUESTION: Thank you.


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PRN: 2012/T68-39