Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met today with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. Following their meeting, Secretary Clinton said:
"...It is a great pleasure to welcome the foreign minister here to the State Department for our first official bilateral meeting. We've spoken on the phone several times during these last few months, we've seen each other at large multilateral meetings, but there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. So I am very pleased we had the opportunity to discuss a range of issues, and I expressed our very strong support for Egypt's ongoing democratic transition.
"It is clear that Egypt's leadership in the Arab world and in the region and beyond is key to regional progress. And I was very pleased that Egypt has recognized the Transitional National Council in Libya. I think there is a lot of opportunity for cross-border cooperation. I was also very pleased that the minister has reiterated Egypt's support for the Camp David Accords, which is essential for stability and, of course, essential for Egypt's growth, prosperity, and peaceful transition.
"We discussed a number of our joint priorities, and I'd like to recognize the work of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been an institution of stability and continuity. The Egyptian people look to the Supreme Council to support the transition and to ensure that the elections go in a very positive way that provides transparency, freedom, and fairness.
"And we fully support the Egyptian people in their journey. We are looking forward to the parliamentary elections this fall, the upper house in parliament, the presidential elections to follow. But we're well aware, having been working at our own democracy for over 230 years, that this takes time. This takes persistence and patience, and it's often hard to have the latter in a time when there's so much pent-up demand and hope for a better future. So we look to being a strong partner for the Egyptian people.
"We are also looking to implement, through the Congress, the $1 billion debt swap that President Obama announced in May. Rather than making interest payments on a debt, the Egyptian people can invest that money into new projects that create jobs and give them a better standard of living.
"We're also working on launching a network of community colleges in Egypt that would provide training for Egyptians to be able to take advantage of the investment opportunities that we hope will come to Egypt. Egypt has the largest market and the largest workforce in the Arab world. In fact, Citibank released a study earlier this year suggesting that with smart investment in its people and its political and economic systems, Egypt could become one of the top ten economies in the world. And I believe that, Minister. I really do. It's not going to happen tomorrow, but it is absolutely possible.
"So we're going to be focused on trade, investment, on the new Middle East Trade and Investment Partnership, to help Egypt gain even greater access to global markets. The Enterprise Fund that we are seeking to establish, the ongoing work of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, are all intended to provide support for what Egyptians themselves are doing.
"And it is going to be a very important couple of months for the people of Egypt. I will be giving an interview tomorrow to an Egyptian radio host and taking this message and sending it out to millions of Egyptians that the United States stands with you and supports you and wants to see a prosperous, peaceful, exciting future for not only Egypt but the entire region."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks with Foreign Minister Amr here.