Egypt leaders promise 'full democracy'

Egypt leaders promise 'full democracy'

 US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Tuesday that Egypt’s new president and its military chief have reassured him they will steer the country to full democracy.

“It’s clear that Egypt, following the revolution, is committed to putting into place a democratic government,” Panetta told reporters after meetings in Cairo with President Mohammed Morsi and Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi. It was Panetta’s first encounter with Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who assumed the presidency in June. Panetta said it was clear to him that Morsi is “his own man.”

Panetta said both Egyptian leaders told him they will continue their country’s cooperation with the United States in fighting the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

The defence chief arrived in Cairo on Tuesday seeking assurance that the country will remain a military partner at a time of political tumult in the Middle East and growing worry about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Panetta’s visit comes on the heels of one by Secretary of State Hillary Rodman Clinton, who was the first member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet to meet with Morsi since his election.

Hillary said in Washington on Monday that the jury was out on whether Islamist political parties will equally represent non-Muslims.

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