Keeping Peace With Israel High on Hillary's Egypt Agenda
07/14/2012 - 17:02
Douglas Bloomfield

The new Egyptian government's commitment to upholding the peace treaty with Israel  and dealing with the growing lawlessness in the Sinai will be high on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's agenda in her meetings with top civilian and military leaders in Egypt this weekend, a senior aid told reporters.

Clinton "has heard very positive statements from President (Mohammad) Morsi in terms of his commitment to upholding the peace treaty and his desire for Egypt to remain an important source -- a cornerstone of regional peace and security," a senior -- unnamed -- department official told reporters on her flight from Cambodia to Cairo Saturday for her meetings with the newly elected Egyptian President Morsi and the head of the military council, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. 

Clinton, the briefer added, will stress that peace with Israel has "produced substantial benefits and dividends to the Egyptian people."  She will tell Egyptian leaders that "over the course of the last 30 years you had a generation of Egyptians grow up without war or conflict and that that has been a boon to Egypt and to the Egyptian people, and the new Egyptian President should have the vision and the leadership to be able to carry that forward," the aide said.

She will also stress the Egypt's role in regional security, notably counter-terrorism and counter-piracy.

Democratic reform and economic recovery are the other top priorities for the secretary's meetings. She felt it was "very important to have early engagement" with both men and to stress to America's strong support for the "complete...transition to democratic civilian rule," the briefer said. 

It remains unclear just how much power the military is willing to surrender to the civilian government.

In addition to the political transition to democracy, Clinton will be talking about America's willingness to help Egypt put its economy back on its feet following nearly a year and a half of political and economic turbulence plus dealing with long-range systemic problems.  

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