HELSINKI — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration is pleased so far with commitments made by Egypt's Islamist president-elect, Mohammed Morsi, but will reserve judgment on his government until it is up and running.
Speaking to reporters in Finland on Wednesday, Clinton said the U.S. was pleased that the new leader has pledged to respect Egypt's international obligations, which Washington believes covers its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. She also said the Egyptian military, which is supposed to turn over power to the president on Saturday, deserved praise for "facilitating" a free, fair and credible election.
However, she said the U.S. would judge Egypt's new leadership on its actions and called for it to respect principles of democracy and pluralism.
"We expect the transition to continue as has been promised by the (military) and we expect president-elect Morsi, as he forms a government, to demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity that is manifest by representatives of the women of Egypt, of the Coptic Christian community, of the secular non-religious community and, of course, young people," she said.
"We hope that full democracy is understood to be more than one election," she added. "One election does not a democracy make. That's just the beginning of the hard work and the hard work requires pluralism, respecting the rights of minorities, independent judiciary, independent media."
The secretary also said, "We know a lot of work lies ahead. They have to write a constitution, they have to look at how they are going to deal with the judicial decision about the parliament and seating a new parliament."
"We are going to work with the leaders in support of that transition," she said, adding that "we have heard some very positive statements so far, including about respecting international obligations which would, in our view, cover the peace treaty with Israel, but we'll have to wait and judge by what is actually done."
Clinton sidestepped a question on whether she would visit Egypt soon to convey the U.S. message to Morsi in person.
U.S. officials have said the administration is willing to send a senior official to Cairo once Morsi is inaugurated and the military cedes the absolute power that it wields currently.