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Egypt must settle disputes in a democratic manner: Hillary Clinton

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today spoke to her Egyptian counterpart Amr Mousa over the unfolding situation in that country and underscored the need for settling disputes in a "democratic manner", while also discussing the developments in Gaza.

State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference said the US is unfolding the political situation in Egypt very closely.

"The Secretary had a phone call with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr this morning, not only to inquire about that situation, but also to talk about the follow up on Gaza," she said.

Hillary Clinton. AFP.

Clinton took that opportunity to reiterate the US concerns on the presidential decree issues by President Mohamed Mursi.

"We want to see the constitutional process move forward in a way that does not overly concentrate power in one set of hands, that ensures that rule of law, checks and balances, protection of the rights of all groups in Egypt are upheld, et cetera," she said.

"Our understanding, from the Egyptian side, is that there are now discussions ongoing among a number of stake holders that President Mursi is conducting consultations with various groups, including with the judiciary.

"We had called for that, and the Secretary underscored that, the importance of settling these disputes in a democratic manner. So we look forward to seeing the outcome of that," she said in response to a question.

The US, she said, wants to see this issue settled through democratic discussion among the various stakeholders in Egypt.

"Discussions are clearly being held. We await the results of those. We were concerned not only that there would be concerns out there, we were concerned that there would be violence if they— if there were, you know, competing demonstrations...     et cetera," she said.

Nuland noted the President's assertion that part of the decree was to give the constituent assembly more time to come up with a constitution.

"So when he says it's temporary, our understanding is it's temporary until there is a constitution that can be approved. But the concern was that there were various issues that were not well represented in the way he went forward with this," she said.

"It is important that these issues be settled through dialogue and democratically. We are encouraged that the various important stakeholders in Egypt are now talking to each other, that President Mursi is consulting on the way forward but we're not going to prejudge where that's going to go," Nuland said.

PTI