Hillary Clinton Egypt Trip Marks Highest Level Visit Since Mubarak's Ouster

Clinton Egypt

First Posted: 03/15/11 10:08 AM Updated: 03/15/11 12:08 PM

CAIRO, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday began the highest-level visit to Egypt by a U.S. official since an uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak, for decades a close ally of Washington.

She is expected to urge the military rulers to whom Mubarak handed power on Feb. 11 to lay the ground for a genuine transition to democracy and offer support to the Egyptians whose mass uprising swept him from office.

One coalition of pro-democracy activists said it had turned down an invitation to meet Clinton in protest at U.S. policy towards Egypt and the U.S. position on the anti-Mubarak revolt. Mubarak crushed opposition during his three decades in power.

U.S. President Barack Obama lavished praise on the protesters the day Mubarak stepped down but it was too little too late for the Egyptian activists, who felt his administration gave Mubarak too much support during the uprising.

The January 25 coalition, made up of six youth groups, said in a statement that Clinton was not welcome "because the U.S. administration long supported Mubarak's corrupt, dictatorial
regime financially, politically and morally".

They also called for a more balanced relationship between Cairo and Washington, whose influence they blame for shaping Egyptian policies including their country's role in enforcing the blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

"We Egyptians, after regaining authority over our land, will only settle for mutual equitable relations based on autonomy, friendship and respect that is reciprocated between both the American and Egyptian nations," it said.

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A cautious approach during the uprising put the U.S. administration out of step with protesters and Washington was criticised for being slow to grasp the scale of the upheaval.

Cairo has been a close U.S. ally since the 1970s, when Washington brokered Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.

CORNERSTONE OF U.S. POLICY

Washington's alliance with Egypt has been a cornerstone of its policy in the region and the country is a recipient of some $1.3 billion in U.S. aid per year. Washington has said it will spend a further $150 million to assist the move to democracy.

Clinton will meet Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, on Wednesday, Egyptian officials said.

She will also see Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby, who took office as part of a recent cabinet reshuffle that purged remnants of Mubarak's administration.

The military has promised to cede power to an elected government as soon as possible. Diplomats, analysts and Egyptian politicians believe the army does not want to stay in power.

In speeches in recent weeks, Clinton has stressed the difficulties of nurturing the institutions that support democracy, including robust political parties, a free media and the rule of law.

Asked to summarise Clinton's message, a U.S. official said: "What happens next is as important as what came before. Transitions to democracy are difficult and they don't produce results overnight or end with the first successful election."

The army dissolved parliament, suspended the constitution and has mapped an initial path to elections within six months, with a March 19 vote on constitutional amendments, parliamentary elections in June and a presidential vote six weeks later.

There are calls for the timetable to be changed.

Some Egyptian activists are concerned it is too tight and will give an advantage to the well-organised Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group, and the remnants of Mubarak's National Democratic Party.

U.S. concerns in the new Egypt include the role the Muslim Brotherhood might play in the government and how that could affect Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

Essam al-Erian, a spokesman for the Brotherhood, said the organisation had not been invited to meet Clinton. "We have not been invited and if we are we will reject (the invitation)," he said. "Any American intervention will be to halt the revolution and obstruct it and not to support it." (Writing and additional reporting by Tom Perry; editing by Angus MacSwan)

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CAIRO, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday began the highest-level visit to Egypt by a U.S. official since an uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak, for decades...
CAIRO, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday began the highest-level visit to Egypt by a U.S. official since an uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak, for decades...
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brit prof   20 hours ago (6:33 AM)
I have two words for you Egypt-type people: status quo.
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guveqzero   20 hours ago (5:52 AM)
Failed US state depatment policy. Who got the medal of freedom for this fiasco?
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Purcy   10:51 PM on 3/15/2011
I would think that would be a bit of a scary trip! If anyone can make progress, it's Hillary!
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gakabani   22 hours ago (4:34 AM)
Wrong, she is making sure there is a new puppet government­.
FreeAmerican7   20 hours ago (6:33 AM)
If Egypt continues to be the puppet of the US ! ?
and since the US is the puppet of Israel;
then Egypt is the puppet of Israel !
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Purcy   12 minutes ago (1:53 AM)
I think World Politics suck and I think our approach often leaves a lot to be desired, and sometimes a whole lot to be desired. At the same time, until this nation becomes self-suffi­cient and not dependent on every dictator (granted, even 'our' dictators)­, I think we're screwed and it becomes a matter of making the best out of a bad situation. I did hear her state that she thought those in charge were doing an admirable job and then there was a comment that the State Department was concerned (quietly) about the elections in Egypt happening so quickly. I can understand why she supports the party in power, at least verbally, and I can understand the concern over the rebels not having time to form a new political party so they're represente­d in a new government­...
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
blogger x   19 hours ago (6:39 AM)
Wrong. Hillary and Obama are apart of the system that got us in the mess we're in today.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Purcy   11 minutes ago (1:54 AM)
Well, sure they are a part of some of the mess this country is in, but exactly what mess are you talking about? Do you think they are a part of the problems in Egypt? I'm not sure I would agree with that.
Macready   19 hours ago (7:04 AM)
there is nothing scary about going to Egypt . . . her timing is off . . . . there is nothing she needs to advise the Egyptians about . . . . she should have gone to Japan
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Purcy   10 minutes ago (1:56 AM)
I don't think Egypt is exactly stable - yes, I agree that we should be sending someone important to Japan but, given the state of the situation there, I think President Obama is the one who should be going to Japan - I don't know - let's face it, the world is a f------ mess.
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grange   19 hours ago (7:20 AM)
True

but only because she is a shape-shif­ting lizard.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Purcy   9 minutes ago (1:57 AM)
Grange, I'm trying to find something about every comment that I can agree with but I think your comment is just plain nasty. Sorry. Keep trying, but I like Hillary and think she is a smart woman. If you think so ill of HIllary, what politician­s are you fond of?
Reaganitetoo   09:57 PM on 3/15/2011
Hey, I figured out where all that weight went that Bill lost. Just look at her picture. HEALTHY!
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kenwulff   08:45 PM on 3/15/2011
Last year Hillary said Mubarak was a close friend of her's who was welcome to have dinner with her family at her house.
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brit prof   20 hours ago (6:33 AM)
He still is.
scepto-cynic   08:43 PM on 3/15/2011
"A cautious approach during the uprising put the U.S. administra­tion out of step with protesters and Washington was criticised for being slow to grasp the scale of the upheaval." The US is taking a similar approach with Libya; to the extent of being lukewarm on the badly needed no-fly-zon­e, and so contributi­ng to the UK's and France's failure to get support for a resolution to this effect at the Security Council level. Maybe she will stop in on Gadaffi on her way back from Egypt.
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Ravyn   19 hours ago (7:21 AM)
So if Gadaffi wins, I presume Obama and Clinton will make nice to him and unfreeze his assets and if the rebels win, they'll say they support freedom and democracy?
no win situation ever   08:29 PM on 3/15/2011
The internal politics of Egypt had nothing to do with the US. We try to make friends where we can, that is it.
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brit prof   20 hours ago (6:34 AM)
And that is why you are despised by the average Joe on the street.
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grange   19 hours ago (7:25 AM)
Indeed

As are the UK and France

The western govts value oil and arms sales , any talk of democracy is just propaganda­.
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Ravyn   19 hours ago (7:26 AM)
Except we routinely exploit people like this for our own foreign policy interests, and have big military weapons sales to their oppressive rulers, and make deals to have access to oil so we can drive our gas guzzlers and waste energy on the backs of third world citizens living on, if they're lucky, $2 a day. This sort of behavior ultimately reduce the British Empire to what it is today and will be our downfall, too, if we don't change how we interact with these countries and stop putting the US military manufactur­ing industry and oil industry above all else. I'm not optimistic our government can change after two years of Obama.
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
Texan POd   06:18 PM on 3/15/2011
As I stated earlier on here:
No RESPECT for a woman and/or Obama....
Great foreign policy we have now.......
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
Texan POd   06:05 PM on 3/15/2011
Didn't take long for this to be removed from the Front Page.
So much for "reality" reporting.
Back to the spin cycle.....­....
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hopefull2008   05:33 PM on 3/15/2011
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RussT   04:28 PM on 3/15/2011
I will say this for Hillary, it's nice to see someone in this administra­tion that's actually working.
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caveman1313   08:57 PM on 3/15/2011
not sure she is accomplish­ing much but at least she is trying
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kenwulff   12:58 AM on 3/16/2011
trying what? to make sure that the middle eastern people rightfully hate the usa for another 100 years?
yeah i'm sure she's making the patton boggs law/lobbyi­ng firm happy and i'm sure she'll make 100 million a year from them in a year or two but she isn't working for the american people right now.
Reaganitetoo   09:59 PM on 3/15/2011
Eating, I would agree with eating, just L ( . )( . ) K at her.
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brit prof   20 hours ago (6:35 AM)
And what has she accomplish­ed?

She took the job as a consolatio­n prize; she has no sense of vision for US foreign policy, she has made no mark at all.
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gypsynomad   04:23 PM on 3/15/2011
Looking good Madame Hill....an­d keep up the good work !
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brit prof   20 hours ago (6:36 AM)
What?

Do you know what's happening in the world?
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gypsynomad   17 hours ago (9:29 AM)
Do not lecture me.
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IllTakeTheRedEye   04:21 PM on 3/15/2011
Hillary -
 
Secretary of State is supposed to be relevant
Be relevant, leave Egypt alone so that we do not look like we are meddling
 
I think Japan would welcome a visit to hear what we are going to do to help our ally
Egypt will decide if they want to be ours after they have had some time...
Please give them some
Macready   20 hours ago (6:22 AM)
x2
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joel123   04:05 PM on 3/15/2011
The US is going over there to Egypt to tell the Egyptian Army to 'lay the ground for democracy? Didn't the US figure out already that the Egyptians know what they need and will achieve what they want without the US help.
The US needs to stay in the US and worry about our problems here.
aFtersootdamP   08:37 PM on 3/15/2011
For the obama regime, all foreign policy is posturing for the domestic audience. If, by some miracle, Egypt establishe­d a Democracy that was friendly to the U.S., the obama regime would try claim credit. if not, they will just move on to the next dog and pony show.
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brit prof   19 hours ago (6:38 AM)
Given the fact that the US helped keep Mubarak in power these last 30 years--a fact not lost on the ordinary Egyptian--­the US should expect nothing but a cold shoulder from any democratic­ally elected government­.
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caveman1313   08:58 PM on 3/15/2011
egypt has no interest in democracy
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kenwulff   01:02 AM on 3/16/2011
that is the stupidest comment i have ever read on this site.
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brit prof   19 hours ago (6:38 AM)
"Caveman" is a most appropriat­e moniker.
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brit prof   19 hours ago (6:39 AM)
Wait. My apologies. The cave people were more than likely far more intellectu­ally engaged than you.
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joel123   16 hours ago (10:33 AM)
It is still not our business. the US should stay out of other countries affairs. Mubarak corrupted Egypt with American Consent.
Macready   20 hours ago (6:24 AM)
I think hil is visiting Egypt to check on the peace agreement between Egypt and israel . . . because the way this administra­tion is acting . . .and I voted for Obama . . . I fear the US will not help the Palestinia­ns . . . . sorry guys . . . but that is what I think . . .The Egyptians are not stupid and will not welcome US interferen­ce in their democracy .. . Hil should have gone to Japan
Diane1976   04:04 PM on 3/15/2011
If Hillary wasn't prepared to invite representa­tives of all the political groups she shouldn't have invited any. Excluding the Brotherhoo­d looks like she's being a busy body and playing favourites­.

And how will it look, politicall­y, for the groups that do show up? Like they're pandering to the US. That wont help them.

Of course, she would be raked over the coals by her political opponents for inviting the Brotherhoo­d but people are sick of Obama appeasing them. I can't believe it helps him politicall­y with moderates in the US to be always seen as giving in to right wing forces. It certainly turns off many of his own supporters­, including some he needs to be enthusiast­ic to help him get re-elected­.
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brit prof   19 hours ago (6:41 AM)
Er ... she wants what is best for the USA, NOT for Egypt. Mubarak oppressed, raped and tortured his people for three decades with America's blessing.

And now America is concerned for Mr. Ordinary Egyptian?

Fool me once ...

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