16 Jul 2012

Clinton and Egyptian military leader meet

4:08 pm on 16 July 2012

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Egypt's military leader on Sunday, on the second day of her visit to the country.

She met President Mohammed Mursi on Saturday and urged him to work with the military to help the move to democracy.

Mr Mursi and the military have been in conflict over parliament's dissolution.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces shut down the chamber, dominated by Mr Mursi's Islamist allies, before he was formally sworn in last month. It also stripped the new president of many of his powers.

Mr Mursi, of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, tried to reinstate parliament by decree last weekend. But the Supreme Constitutional Court has said the dissolution is final.

Mrs Clinton held talks for more than an hour in Cairo on Sunday with Field Marshal Mohamad Hussein Tantawi, who became interim ruler of Egypt after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February last year.

A State Department official says: ''They discussed the political transition and the (military council's) ongoing dialogue with President Mursi.

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

The BBC reports Egypt's economic needs and US aid plans were also discussed.