Remarks to Egyptian Women Leaders

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ambassador's Residence
Cairo, Egypt
July 15, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say how pleased I am to have this opportunity to visit with some longtime acquaintances and people I’ve known and people that I’ve met recently, and some new faces, to talk about the way forward here in Egypt. I just had a lengthy meeting with a group of Christian leaders who had many issues that they wanted to raise directly with me. And I came to Cairo in part to send a very clear message that the United States supports the rights – the universal rights – of all people.

And we support democracy, but democracy has to mean more than just elections. It has to mean that the majority will be protecting the rights of the minority. And here in Egypt, we are committed to protecting and advancing the rights of all Egyptians – men and women, Muslim and Christian. Everyone who is a citizen of Egypt deserves the same rights under the law. And I conveyed this to President Morsi in our meeting yesterday, that we’re going to look to any elected government to support inclusivity, to make sure that the talents of every Egyptian can be put to work in building a new future for this ancient and incredibly important country, and that we are also going to be looking to the government to respect the rights, and as the new constitution is written, to enshrine those rights in it.

Egyptians have sacrificed so much to get to this moment. And we think a strong, durable democracy that respects the rule of law, that protects the rights of all, is the best way forward for Egyptians to realize your aspirations and to meet your own goals for development. So today, now I have the opportunity to meet with a group of women who are active in Egypt in many different venues, on many different issues. And I’m looking forward to this conversation because I don’t think there’s any substitute to hearing firsthand what is on people’s minds and also what the United States can do to be a better partner as Egypt makes its transition to real democracy.

Thank you all very much.

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PRN: 2011/T68-37