US envoy presses Egyptian leaders; assures America`s support

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 09:17

Cairo: A top American diplomat on Tuesday assured US support to democratic process in Egypt, saying Washington wants the Arab country to be strong, democratic and tolerant.

Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, the highest US official to visit Egypt following ouster of the country`s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi, urged Egyptian leaders to engage in dialogue and end violence.

Speaking at a press conference here, he said the US wants Egypt to be strong, democratic and tolerant and to deal with the needs of its people and respect their rights.

Burns earlier held talks with Egypt`s interim president and prime minister-designate. He also met members of armed forces, representatives of political parties, NGOs, activists, religious figures and businessmen.

Pointing out that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry had asked him to visit Egypt, Burns said the message was clear that the US will continue to support democratic success and prosperity in Egypt.

"Only Egyptians can determine their future," he said, underlining that he has not come to Egypt with a US solution or to give lectures.

"The US does not seek to impose a certain model in Egypt but will support certain main principles," he said.

He said that despite concerns over the recent political developments in Egypt, the US believes that the transitional period is a second chance after the January 25 Revolution to create a democratic state that preserves human rights, respect the rule of law and achieve economic prosperity to the people.

He also condemned violence, saying the US denounces the sectarian violence and urges security forces to exercise the highest degree of self-restraint.

Morsi`s overthrow after massive nationwide protests demanding his resignation has plunged Egypt into turmoil.

Burns also voiced hope that the interim government could seize the opportunity and stimulate economy and lure foreign investors to funnel their funds into the Egyptian market.

The US supports economic reforms that will lead to reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund, Burns said.

He said his country is fully committed to supporting Egypt to fulfill the promises of the revolution.

Asked about ideas to get Egypt out of the current turmoil, he said the Egyptian authorities are fully aware of the risks of polarisation and dangers that can be caused by the escalating violence between various parties in Egypt.

Asked about repeating the Syrian scenario in Egypt, he cast doubt over the risks of repeating the Syrian disaster in the country.

"Only the Egyptian could determine their choices," he said, reiterating that the US stands by the main democratic principles and the Egyptian citizens.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 09:17

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