Remarks Following Meeting With Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi

William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary
Cairo, Egypt
July 8, 2012

It is a pleasure to be back in Cairo. Ambassador Patterson and I just finished a very constructive meeting with President Morsi. I conveyed a message of congratulations from President Obama, emphasizing America’s strong commitment to building a new partnership with a new, democratic Egypt, founded on common interest and mutual respect.

While in Cairo, I am also meeting with a broad range of Egyptian leaders, political figures, civil society representatives, and members of the business community. These discussions help prepare for Secretary Clinton’s visit to Egypt later this month, which will highlight U.S. support for Egypt’s democratic transition and economic revival. I’ll add just a few brief points.

First, let me take this opportunity to congratulate the people of Egypt on what is truly an historic set of achievements. A peaceful revolution. Competitive elections. The first democratically elected civilian president in Egypt's history. For all the very real problems that remain, not all nations who rose up alongside you last year have been so fortunate. Not all nations carry Egypt’s strategic and historic weight. And not all nations can have such an important impact on the entire region through the success of their democratic transition, and through their continued role as a strong pillar of peace, security, and prosperity.

SDate: 07/08/2012 Description: Deputy Secretary Burns meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo. - State Dept Imageecond, the United States will do all we can to help ensure a successful transition in Egypt, which offers the best path to realize the aspirations of the Egyptian people for dignity, for opportunity, for security, and for a voice in their own affairs. Egyptians know far better than we do that their aspirations are not yet fully realized, but they can count on America’s partnership on the complicated road ahead.

Third, we are mindful that many of the Egyptian people's most pressing concerns today are economic in nature. We are fully committed to tangible initiatives to help Egypt deal with its economic challenges, including meeting immediate financial concerns, providing debt relief, helping to create jobs and educational opportunities, and encouraging U.S. investment and tourism. For all the obvious challenges, Egypt clearly has the potential for economic revival and inclusive growth.

Fourth, in a very short time, Egypt has traveled a remarkable distance, but a great deal of work remains to build the strong, durable democratic system for which the Egyptian people launched their revolution. It will be critical to see a democratically elected parliament in place, and an inclusive process to draft a new constitution that upholds universal rights. The challenge remains of building institutions which will ensure that no matter who wins an election in any particular year, the rights of all Egyptians will always be protected. This challenge belongs not just to Egypt's leaders but to its citizens as well.

Finally, tens of millions of Egyptians will be looking to President Morsi and the Cabinet he forms to take needed steps to advance national unity and build an inclusive government that embraces all of Egypt's faiths and respects the rights of women and secular members of society. So will the international community. We are fully committed to working with Egypt's President, its new government and all parties to sustain our partnership and advance our shared interest in a strong, democratic, and economically vibrant Egypt that is a force for peace and stability in the region.

Thank you very much.