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Assistant US secretary of state presents Morsi with message from Obama

Message from US president includes invitation to attend UN General Assembly meeting in September, reassurances that Washington will support Egypt's democratic transition

Zeinba El Gundy , Sunday 8 Jul 2012
Burns and Morsi
Burns and Morsi meet in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on Sunday met with newly-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, whom he presented with a message from US President Barack Obama.

It was the first such visit by a US official to the Egyptian presidency since the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak early last year.

The message from Obama reportedly included an invitation to visit the US in September to participate in a scheduled meeting of the UN General Assembly. The message also included reassurances that the United States would continue supporting Egypt's democratic transition.

According to Burns, the message from the US president did not include any issues related to Egypt-Israel relations, as had earlier been claimed by the media.

"It will be critical to see a democratically elected parliament in place, and an inclusive process to draft a new constitution that upholds universal rights," Burns said in a Sunday statement.

"The challenge remains of building institutions which will ensure that, no matter who wins an election in any particular year, the rights of all Egyptians will always be protected," Burns added. "This challenge belongs not just to Egypt's leaders, but to its citizens as well."

Burns continued: "Tens of millions of Egyptians will be looking to President Morsi and the cabinet he forms to take needed steps to advance national unity and build an inclusive government that embraces all of Egypt's faiths and respects the rights of women and secular members of society. So will the international community."

While in Cairo, the US deputy secretary also met with prominent political figures, including former presidential candidate Amr Moussa, with whom he discussed the current political situation in Egypt, Syria and the wider Arab world.

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