Remarks at Meeting With Embassy Staff and Families
Secretary of State
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, and thank you also for your patience. I’ve had an excellent series of meetings today and have had the opportunity to listen to and interact with a number of Egyptians that has given me new insight and a very clear sense of the great dedication that Egyptians have toward the success of this transition to a true democracy.
I want to thank Ambassador Patterson and to DCM Marc Sievers for the leadership they’ve brought to the mission at this time which is so historic. I also want to thank all of you for everything you’re doing every single day. You’re on the front lines of the democratic transition here. And I know it’s not been easy, especially for our local Egyptian staff. Even getting to and from work has been a challenge at times. But I want to thank our Egyptian and our American team here. You’ve responded just extraordinarily with real commitment and fortitude. And I’m delighted that I can thank you in person. The last time I was here, there was still a sense of excitement and energy coming from all that had happened so close by in Tahrir Square. Now, obviously, we are into the hard work, the hard, hard work of trying to be a good partner as the people of Egypt make their transition.
I especially want to thank you because last November and December into January, even though there were large demonstrations and sometimes even riots, you kept on going. Even when the air was thick with tear gas and Molotov cocktails (inaudible), you pulled together to help salvage historic books that had been burned and damaged. You donated blood to help people who’d been injured. When a mob attacked the Israeli Embassy, you stayed up all night coordinating responses and helping to resolve that very unfortunate situation. When the Egyptian judiciary took up a case against American NGOs, you made certain that our citizens were safe. You never stopped supporting and advocating for our Egyptian colleagues who were on trial and for all Egyptians working to build democracy. Whenever an American citizen got into trouble for taking part in demonstrations, you were there to protect their rights, to secure their release. I understand some of you even served Thanksgiving dinner to three young Americans who were jailed over that holiday.
So I know that it’s been a challenging year for all of you, but I particularly want to thank all the drivers, the local security guards, the diplomatic security staff, the Marine security guards, who protected this Embassy and all of you during the turmoil of the year. I want to thank the telephone operators who kept us all connected and tracked us down at any hour of day or night.
And I want to thank you for helping to monitor and report on seven rounds of voting. For the first time in Egypt’s long, legendary history, they have chosen their own leadership. But elections are just the beginning. It’s not the end of anything. Now a government must be formed, and a government that will respect the rights of all Egyptians – men and women, Muslim and Christian, wherever they live in the country.
I met with President Morsi yesterday and told him the United States stands ready to support the Egyptian people, that we are working toward an inclusive government, that we respect the right of Egyptians to build their country, but we believe strongly that universal rights must be protected. All people deserve dignity. All people deserve their freedom.
So I’m hoping that you will continue your efforts that are incredibly important, and to show the support and friendship of the American people to the Egyptian people. And I know that for many of you, you will be telling your grandchildren about this past 15 months, about what is likely to be a better future for Egypt.
So thank you for everything you are doing and that you will do, and I cannot wait to see how this incredibly important story unfolds. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)