Secretary Clinton in 2009: “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family”

By Kristina

Jan 31, 2011 4:52pm

ABC’s Kirit Radia reports: During a March 2, 2009 interview with the Arab television network Al Arabiya in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about the State Deparment’s annual human rights report, which is perennially critical of Egypt’s record, and whether it was tied to an invitation for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to visit the United States.

She replied, in part:

“No. It’s an annual report. It is not in any way connected. We look forward to President Mubarak coming as soon as his schedule would permit. I had a wonderful time with him this morning. I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family. So I hope to see him often here in Egypt and in the United States.”

Here’s the full exchange, including a question right afterward about the future of the Egyptian Presidency, which Clinton replies is up to the Egyptian people.

QUESTION: On another issue, the State Department issued a report about criticizing the human rights record of Egypt. And what kind of – in order for Egypt to enhance its record, what do you recommend or ask Egypt to do?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We issue these reports on every country. We consider Egypt to be a friend and we engage in very forthright conversations with our friends. And so we hope that it will be taken in the spirit in which it is offered, that we all have room for improvement. The United States, as you have seen under our new President, is moving to remedy some of the problems that we have had. We view human rights as very important. It’s central to our value system and to our foreign policy, and so we want to enlist others to make progress.

QUESTION: Is this file, by any chance, connected to the invitation – extended invitation – for President Mubarak to visit the United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. It’s an annual report. It is not in any way connected. We look forward to President Mubarak coming as soon as his schedule would permit. I had a wonderful time with him this morning. I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family. So I hope to see him often here in Egypt and in the United States.

QUESTION: How do you view the presidency in Egypt, the future of the presidency in Egypt?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s for the people of Egypt to decide. That is a very important issue that really is up to Egyptians.

-Kirit Radia

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