Clinton focuses on rights, Tantawi on economic growth | News | DW | 15.07.2012
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Clinton focuses on rights, Tantawi on economic growth

The US secretary of state wrapped up a visit to Cairo by meeting the country's military chief. Hillary Clinton's talks with Field Marshall Tantawi focused on Egypt's transition to democracy and the economy.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the head of Egypt's ruling military council, Field Marshall Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, on Sunday.

Few details were released after their talks, which lasted for more than an hour.

"They discussed the political transition and the SCAF's (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) ongoing dialogue with President (Mohammed) Morsi," a US state department official told reporters in Cairo.

"The secretary stressed the importance of protecting the rights of all Egyptians, including women and minorities," the official said.

The field marshall used the meeting to focus on the economy and an aid package proposed by Clinton.

"Tantawi stressed that this is what Egyptians need most now, help getting the economy back on track," the state department official said.

Political power struggle

Clinton's meeting with the field marshall came a day after she met with Eqypt's newly elected president, Mohammed Morsi, who is locked in a power struggle with the military.

The military council ceded power to Morsi on June 30, but only after issuing a constitutional declaration diluting the president's powers - especially on issues like government spending and the process of drafting a new constitution.

The country's highest court had also disbanded parliament on the eve of the presidential runoff vote, ruling that a third of its members had been elected illegally. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and its allies held the majority of parliamentary seats.

Morsi ordered parliament to reconvene, which it did briefly, on July 10, in defiance of the court decision. A day after the lawmakers convened, however, Morsi said he would respect the ruling. His efforts to recall parliament suffered another setback on Saturday, when an appeals court upheld the previous ruling.

The president was set to continue his efforts to build up his relations with other regional leaders on Sunday by flying to Ethiopia for the second day of an Afican Union summit.

Clinton was to travel to Israel later on Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials.

pfd/msh (dpa, AP, AFP)