Clinton Taunted, Accused of Helping Muslim Brotherhood
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was taunted by chants of "Monica, Monica" by tomato-throwing demonstrators as she visited the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on Sunday, AFP reported.
The chants, referring to the Monica Lewinsky scandal when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, were heard outside the U.S. consulate as she visited for its reopening.
An Egyptian security official told AFP the protesters were chanting "Monica, Monica" and "Irhal, Clinton" (Get out, Clinton.)
Tomatoes, shoes and a water bottle were thrown at part of Clinton's motorcade as it pulled up, protected by riot police. A U.S. official said Clinton's own vehicle was not hit.
The protest was the result of suspicions that Washington had helped the Muslim Brotherhood win elections in Egypt in the wake of last year's ouster of president Hosni Mubarak.
“I want to be clear that the United States is not in the business, in Egypt, of choosing winners and losers, even if we could, which, of course, we cannot,” Clinton said at the opening of the consulate, which AFP noted was closed in 1993 due to budget cuts, but has been reopened to assist the Egyptian economy in a key port city.
Also on Sunday, the Secretary of State met with Egypt's top military leader, urging him to support a transition to civilian rule.
Clinton's brief trip to Egypt comes as a complex power struggle is being played out between the newly-elected Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
AFP reported that after meeting Morsi on Saturday, Clinton spent more than an hour on Sunday in talks with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the country's interim military ruler after Mubarak was ousted.
“They discussed the political transition and the SCAF's ongoing dialogue with President Morsi,” a State Department official told reporters, adding promised new U.S. aid to Egypt was also on the agenda.
According to the report, Tantawi later vowed the military will not let “one group” dominate the country, intensifying a standoff with the Muslim Brotherhood from which the new president emerged.
“Egypt will not fall. It is for all Egyptians and not just one group ... The armed forces will not allow it,” Tantawi said in statements quoted by the official MENA news agency.
Clinton has repeatedly called on the military to respect the outcome of the elections, and on Sunday also met separately with Christian and women leaders to hear about the situation for people on the ground.
She was quoted as having said after her talks that people “have legitimate concerns and, I will be honest and say, they have legitimate fears about their future.”
On Sunday night, Clinton arrived in Israel for top-level talks with Israeli officials expected to focus on Iran's nuclear program and the stalled peace process.
During the visit, Clinton will hold talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.