WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States expects Egypt’s military authorities to fully transfer power to a democratically elected civilian government as planned, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.
“There can be no going back on the democratic transition called for by the Egyptian people,” Clinton told reporters, declining specific comment on an Egyptian court ruling to dissolve the country’s newly elected Islamist-led parliament.
Egypt’s supreme court ruling plunged a troubled transition to democracy into turmoil just two days before an election to replace ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.
Islamist politicians who had gained most from Mubarak’s overthrow have decried what they called a “coup” by an army-led establishment still filled with Mubarak-era officials.
“Throughout this process, the United States has stood in support of the aspirations of the Egyptian people for a peaceful, credible and permanent democratic transition,” Clinton said at a news conference of the U.S. and South Korean foreign and defense ministers.
“Now, ultimately it is up to the Egyptian people to determine their own future and we expect that this weekend’s presidential election will be held in an atmosphere that is conducive to it being peaceful, fair and free,” she added.
“In keeping with the commitments that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces made to the Egyptian people, we expect to see a full transfer of power to a democratically elected civilian government,” she said.
“The decisions on specific issues, of course, belong to the Egyptian people and their elected leaders, and they’ve made it clear that they want a president, a parliament and a constitutional order that will reflect their will and advance their aspirations for political and economic reform,” Clinton said. “That is exactly what they deserve to have.”
Clinton also voiced concern about a decree issued by the military council on Wednesday allowing the military police and intelligence service to detain civilians and refer them to military tribunals.
“We are concerned about recent decrees issued by the SCAF,” she said. “Even if they are temporary, they appear to expand the power of the military to detain civilians and to roll back civil liberties.”
Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Jackie Frank and David Brunnstrom