Hanoi: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday urged Egypt`s Islamist President and its military to settle their differences for the good of Egypt`s people, or risk seeing their nation`s democratic transition derailed.
Egypt`s newly elected President Mohammed Morsi is locked in conflict with the powerful military over whether the country`s legislature should reconvene after a court ruling last month dissolved it. It`s the latest crisis in nearly 17 months of political drama since last year`s overthrow of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.
Speaking in Vietnam, Clinton refused to take sides in the simmering dispute. She cited Egypt`s progress, as evidenced by competitive elections and the first popularly elected president in the country`s "very long history." But she stressed that much more needed to be done.
"Democracy not just about elections," she told reporters. "It is about creating vibrant, inclusive political dialogue; listening to civil society; having good relations between civilian officials and military officials, where each is working to serve the interests of the citizens."
Delivering a cautionary message, Clinton said, "We strongly urge dialogue and a concerted effort on the part of all to try to deal with the problems that are understandable, but have to be resolved in order to avoid the kind of difficulties that could derail the transition that is going on."
The Egyptian parliament convened today for about five minutes. Speaker Saad El-Katatni told lawmakers that the legislature met to find ways to implement the ruling rather than debate it out of respect for the principle of "the supremacy of the law and separation of authorities."
Clinton called on all sides in Egypt to come together. "Democracy really is about empowering citizens to determine the direction of their own country," she said.
"We urge that there be intensive dialogue among all of the stakeholders in order to ensure there is a clear path for them to be following and that the Egyptian people get what they protested for and what they voted for, which is a fully elected government making the decisions."