"This is a moment of extraordinary promise for Egypt and for Egyptians," said U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns. Speaking at the Arab League in Cairo, he said, "It's a moment when Egypt has only just begun its historic transition to democracy. It's a moment when the voices, the courage and sacrifice, and the remarkable peaceful determination of Tahrir Square have been heard around the region and around the world."
After eighteen days of mostly peaceful demonstrations, long-time president Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 11th. A care-taker government, led by the military, is leading the country until elections can be held.
Americans, said Under Secretary Burns, "deeply respect and admire what Egypt has already achieved, but we know that the road ahead is not going to be easy. We also know that it's a road that can only be navigated by Egyptians themselves. The United States has great faith in the capacity of Egypt to navigate that path successfully and to set an example for the rest of the region." The United States wants to do everything it can to help as Egypt builds an open, inclusive process aimed at producing real political change, economic recovery, and long-term economic modernization.
The United States will continue to encourage Egyptian leaders to take concrete steps to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, including the passage of constitutional amendments ensuring free and fair elections, the release of political detainees, and the lifting of the emergency law.
During this period of democratic transition, the United States looks forward to remaining a very strong partner of Egypt and Egyptians. In an interview with Egyptian online news portal Masrawy.com, [mas-rah-wee] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged Egyptians to remain energetic and determined in their work to build a democratic Egypt: "Be patient, persistent, stay committed to the goal of democracy, work to build the institutions that will be necessary for true Egyptian democracy."
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Secretary Clinton has said that "people are calling on their governments to be more open, more accountable, and more responsive, and the United States believes it is in the interest of governments to engage peacefully and positively in addressing their demands and to work to respond to them. Without genuine progress," said Secretary Clinton, "toward open and accountable political systems, the gap between people and their governments can only grow and instability can only deepen."