x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

US urges Egypt's top military to back civilian rule

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has met with Egypt's top military leaders, urging them to support a transition to civilian rule as a political struggle triggers fears that rights could be eroded.

US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton accompanies Hussein Tantawi to a meeting at the Ministry of Defence in Cairo yesterday.
US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton accompanies Hussein Tantawi to a meeting at the Ministry of Defence in Cairo yesterday.

CAIRO // The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, yesterday met Egypt's top military leaders, urging them to support a transition to civilian rule as a political struggle triggers fears that rights could be eroded.

On the second and final day of her visit to Egypt, the top US diplomat also met with representatives of the country's 10 million-strong Christian community, saying afterwards Washington was "committed to protecting and advancing the rights of all Egyptians: men and women, Muslim and Christian".

Mrs Clinton's trip to Egypt comes at a time when a complex power struggle is being played out between the newly elected Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf).

After meeting Mr Morsi after arriving in Cairo on Saturday, Mrs Clinton yesterday spent more than an hour in talks with field marshal Hussein Tantawi - the country's interim military ruler after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year. "They discussed the political transition and the Scaf's ongoing dialogue with president Morsi," a US state department official said at the end of the talks.

The two also discussed an economic package proposed by Mrs Clinton and "Tantawi stressed that this is what Egyptians need most now, help getting the economy back on track," the official added.