John Kerry says US supports democracy, efforts for reform

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CAIRO: “Egyptians have set an example … helped define the hope and presented an opportunity for other countries to look forward,” said US Senator Kerry in a press conference at the Arab League on Monday.

Kerry met with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa to discuss the changes sweeping the Arab world, namely the January 25 Revolution and the situation in Libya.

Kerry said it is a “great privilege” to be in Egypt and engage in many conversations during the past day and a half with government officials, members of the civil society and youth movements as well as take “a walk in Tahrir Square where people are still expressing their hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future.”

“I’m humbly in awe and of great respect of what was achieved by the people,” he said, referring to the “remarkable transformation [made] by the people.”

However, there lies an “enormous economic challenge,” he noted.

“People need jobs and need to get the economy moving again for stability and continuing down the road to democracy,” Kerry explained.

He said his visit is aimed at finding ways “to provide economic assistance to facilitate that transformation.”

Regarding the uprisings that are underway in the Arab world, Kerry said that the “US supports democracy and efforts for reform in all places.”

He pointed out that each country will have to pave its way to democracy in its own way as they are “a different set of realities,” whether they are ethnic, cultural or historic.

In relation to the situation in Bahrain, Kerry said that the US supports the crown prince’s call for dialogue. He also addressed the situation in Yemen, saying the US wants the violence to stop and wants to bring the people in national dialogue.

“[We support this] new awakening, new movement by the people to enter into modernity,” he said.

On the other hand, Kerry pointed said, “We have our own fights in the United States, regarding issues pertaining to the distribution of wealth, equal representation and jobs.”

Moussa, who was present at the press conference, evaded questions related to the situation in Yemen and Bahrain. However, regarding the no fly zone resolution in Libya and the Arab League’s support of it, he said the Arab League won’t call for member states to support it.

“Members states have a bilateral commitment, [however, supporting] it depends on each and every country… [it is a] sovereign decision by any member state,” he said.

Meanwhile, outside the premises around 20 people gathered and chanted “No blood for oil” in an appeal to Kerry as one protester said. Protesters were also chanting “Amr Moussa why are you selling the blood of Libyans,” referring to what they said was the Arab League’s “passive” position.

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