AMANPOUR: There are people still on the streets in great numbers. On Tuesday, you said that the U.S. government's assessment is that the government of Egypt is stable. Do you believe that was a mistake? Or do you think today that the government of Egypt is stable?
CLINTON: Well, Christiane, you know, I know that everybody wants a yes-or-no answer to what are very complicated issues. Obviously, this is a volatile situation. Egypt has been a partner of the United States for over three decades, has been a partner in achieving historic peace with Israel, a partner in, you know, trying to stabilize a region that is subject to a lot of challenges.
And we have been consistent across those three decades in arguing that real stability only comes from the kind of democratic participation that gives people a chance to feel that they are being heard. And by that I mean real democracy, not a democracy for six months or a year and then evolving into essentially a military dictatorship or a so-called democracy that then leads to what we saw in Iran.
So we've been very clear about what is in Egypt's long-term interests. And we continue to be clear. And that is what we want to see come from this very -- this great outpouring of -- of desire for the people of Egypt to have their universal human rights recognized. And that is what we hope will come.
AMANPOUR: A lot of the people here on the streets are telling us that they're angry, they think the U.S. is hedging its bets.
CLINTON: I just want to reiterate what both President Obama and I have been saying. I said it in Doha. I've said it before. President Obama said it himself when he was in Cairo at the beginning of his administration.
We believe that democracy, human rights, economic reform are in the best interests of the Egyptian people. Any government that does not try to move in that direction cannot meet the legitimate needs of the people. And in the 21st century, it is highly vulnerable to what we have seen in the region and beyond. People are not going to stand by any longer and not be given the opportunity to fulfill their own God-given potential.
So what I'm hoping is that there can be a very difficult set of decisions made, that the government will be able to maintain a peaceful relationship with peaceful protesters, that where there is criminal activity, looting and the like, that can be handled in an appropriate way, respecting human rights.
But then we can see a national dialogue begin, where the government of Egypt recognizes that it must -- that it must take those concrete steps that many of us have been urging for democratic and economic reform. I think that is the best way for Egypt to navigate through this without unforeseen consequences that could further undermine the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people.
AMANPOUR: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much for joining us.
CLINTON: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And when we return, can the Egyptian government ride out this storm? My exclusive interview with Egypt's ambassador to the United States when we return, a special edition of "This Week," "Crisis in Egypt."