Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met one-on-one with Morsi on Monday evening — “a very relaxed and warm meeting,” as described by a senior State Department official.
The official told reporters on background that the meeting began with Clinton thanking Morsi for providing security to the U.S. embassy in Cairo.
“We all understand that in the first hours, as the Egyptians themselves have said, it may have been a little slow, but indeed quite quickly Egypt provided to our embassy and has continued to provide to our embassy quite professional and quite effective security,” the official said.
He wouldn’t delve into Morsi’s response other than to say that the Egyptian leader “affirmed that embassy security is their duty, it’s their responsibility, and they take it quite seriously.”
When talking about the Muhammad video, they spoke about “how words, how acts, can become a reason that people take to act.”
“As you know, the president has spoken with President Morsi, so we’re sort of on to the next chapter in many ways.”
Obama called off a bilateral meeting with Morsi during his UN visit, and held no bilats before leaving town.
“The president spoke with President Morsi of Egypt at length very recently,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday when asked if Obama called off the meeting to avoid sitting down with an Islamist during campaign season. “…He made clear in that conversation that he expects the government of Egypt and the governments of other regions in the — other countries in the region to abide by their obligations to provide security to diplomatic facilities that they host. And that’s a conversation he had with other leaders in the region.”
“I think what was gained is building a relationship which is going to be essential to cover the range of subjects that took place. I think to make sure that we are moving forward on all of the issues of concern that we have, whether it is embassy security, security in the region, ensuring that there are good channels of communication with Israel, to follow through on the commitments that Egypt itself has made, to talk about how they can move forward on their economic situation, because in fact they won’t be able to deliver for their people as a government unless, in fact, the economy starts moving forward,” the State Department official said.
“I think that President Morsi wanted to give us a sense of what they’re doing to try to move that forward. And that’s very important, because all of these pieces have to fit together as a package for them to, in fact, have the effect that we all hope to have to ensure a democratic Egypt.”
Like his Iranian counterpart, Morsi took time to do some American media while in town.
On CBS, Morsi was asked whether he considers the U.S. to be an ally.
“This is dependent on the definition of an ally. The understanding of an ally as a part of a military alliance, this is not existent right now,” he said. “But if you mean by ‘allied’ partnership and special diplomatic relationship and cooperation, we are that ally.”