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Mubarak's era is over, now time for real democracy: Clinton

world Updated: Feb 15, 2011 07:58 IST

Noting that President Hosni Mubarak's era is over, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that now it is time to work towards achieving the goal of real democracy in Egypt, which she felt could take time.

"The Mubarak era is over. There is a new effort that is just beginning, and I think it is an - it's important that the US be seen as supporting the transition to democracy, and that is where we stand. We are strongly in favour of it. We want to see it as soon as it can come," Clinton told Al Jazeera news television in interview.

She said that there was a need to keep an eye on the outcome of 'this incredible movement for change', which she feels could be hijacked by external or internal forces that do not follow through on the promises made, do not realize the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

"So our goal is to keep our eye on the outcome. Let us get to democracy that will, once and for all, meet the needs of the Egyptian people and give Egypt a chance to serve as a model for the entire region that needs desperately to see that," she said.

Clinton said that people of Egypt need to keep up their political involvement and the real strength of their movement to get the changes necessary.

"I mean, those changes have been promised now. They need to be delivered on. And there needs to be broad-based inclusive representation going forward. So, different groups within Egyptian society have to step forward to take responsibility toward working in a unified way to achieve the goals that have all been set," she said.

The US wants to be a good partner and friend as they make this transition, she said.

"Three weeks ago, no one would have guessed that so much could have happened that would have been so responsive to the needs and aspirations that we heard coming from Tahrir Square," she said.

"And now, like so many kinds of movements for change, the hard work of actually putting into place the steps that are necessary must be pursued, and it needs to be pursued as expeditiously as possible with as broad and inclusive a group of Egyptians involved. But we're just at the beginning of the transition," she said.

Appreciating the role of Egyptian military, so far, Clinton said "...the role that the army played during the last weeks as a guarantor of the Egyptian state, as a institution that was well-respected by the Egyptian people, was absolutely essential."

Clinton said that in contrast what happened in Egypt with what is going on today in Iran where, once again, the Iranian Government is lashing out, using violence against people who are expressing the same desires as we heard from Egypt.

"So I have a lot of sympathy for what has already occurred in Egypt, but I have a sense of realism about what it's going to take to move forward. So far, what the supreme council has announced is in keeping with what they announced they would be doing, and in response to the desires of the Egyptian people and their demands," she said.

"But I think everyone has to recognize that this transition where you have to rewrite a constitution, you have to pass new laws, you have to help form political parties -there's a long to-do list, and everybody needs to be sort of focused on the task at hand. And that's going to take an enormous amount of energy from everybody involved," Clinton said.