U.S. Urges Morsi to Bridge Political Divisions
On December 25, the U.S. State Department urged Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to “bridge divisions, build trust, and broaden support for the political process.” The Christmas Day statement came three days after the draft constitution passed in a public referendum by 63.8 percent, but with only 32.9 percent voter turnout. “Egypt’s future depends not on the ability of one side to prevail over the other, but on the commitment of all to engage in an inclusive process to negotiate their differences,” warned Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell. The following is a transcript of the U.S. statement.
This past weekend, the draft Egyptian constitution passed a public referendum. We have stood with Egyptians as they have engaged in the difficult work of democratic transition. We have consistently supported the principle that democracy requires much more than simple majority rule. It requires protecting the rights and building the institutions that make democracy meaningful and durable.
The future of Egypt’s democracy depends on forging a broader consensus behind its new democratic rules and institutions. Many Egyptians have voiced deep concerns about the substance of the constitution and the constitutional process. President Morsi, as the democratically elected leader of Egypt, has a special responsibility to move forward in a way that recognizes the urgent need to bridge divisions, build trust, and broaden support for the political process. We have called for genuine consultation and compromise across Egypt’s political divides. We hope those Egyptians disappointed by the result will seek more and deeper engagement. We look to those who welcome the result to engage in good faith. And we hope all sides will re-commit themselves to condemn and prevent violence.
Only Egyptians can decide their country’s future. The United States remains committed to helping them realize the aspirations that drove their revolution and complete a successful democratic transition. Egypt needs a strong, inclusive government to meet its many challenges. Its future depends not on the ability of one side to prevail over the other, but on the commitment of all to engage in an inclusive process to negotiate their differences ‒ on the constitution and on the laws implementing it ‒ and to find a more united path forward.