At her last NATO press conference as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton urged Egyptian leaders to build democratic ideals into their new constitution after police used tear gas to break up massive protests in Cairo Tuesday.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians demonstrated against President Mohammed Morsi’s recent power grab and his administration’s drafted constitution outside his palace Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
“The Egyptian people deserve a constitution that protects the rights of all Egyptians – men and women, Christians and Muslims – and ensures that Egypt will uphold all its international obligations,” Clinton told members of the media Wednesday in Brussels as part of a six-day diplomatic trip through Europe. ”We call on all stake holders to settle their differences through democratic dialogue. And we call on Egypt’s leaders to ensure that the outcome protects the democratic promise of the revolution for all of Egypt’s citizens.”
Clinton also responded to NATO’s decision to prep patriot missiles for deployment, calling it “a great tribute to NATO.”
“This is for defensive purposes, that’s made absolutely clear in the statement that was agreed upon. It is solely for the defense of Turkey. It will have no offensive or other purpose,” Clinton said. “I don’t believe that it necessarily brings any greater attention to the tragedy unfolding in Syria, but it does send a clear message to the Syrians that Turkey has the full support of its NATO allies.”
Next week, Clinton is scheduled to attend a Friends of the Syrian People meeting in Morocco. She said she looked forward to that discussion but that the countries gathering won’t be able to make any progress towards ending the conflict in Syria unless Assad transfers power and the Syrian regime stops killing its people.
“And we hope they do so because we believe their fall is inevitable,” Clinton said. “It’s just a question of how many people will die until that day occurs.”
On Monday, Clinton joined President Obama in calling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s stockpiling of chemical weapons a “red line for the United States.”
“I’m not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against his own people,” Clinton said, ”but suffice to say we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur.”
ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz contributed to this report.