CAIRO, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi held talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday afternoon to boost bilateral relations.
They discussed Egypt's transition process to democracy and ways to boost bilateral relations, in addition to regional issues such as the Syrian crisis and the Middle East peace process.
"We do support the democratic transition, but we know it is for Egyptians to decide your way forward," said Clinton at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, after her talks with Morsi at the presidential palace.
The U.S. stresses "democracy is hard....It requires dialogue, compromise and real politics... We will continue to support the Egyptian people making theses decisions in the best way we can", said Clinton.
"We now are doing all we can to support the democratically elected government and to help make it a success in delivering results for the people of Egypt," she said.
Outside the Presidential Palace in Heliopolis district, dozens of Egyptians protested against the visit of Clinton. "Compensation for the victims of American torture in Guantanamo", read one banner."You are not welcome in Egypt", said another with a picture of Clinton.
Near the U.S. embassy, several hundred people gathered to reject "the intervention of the U.S. administration in Egypt's domestic affairs", official MENA news agency reported.
Some held Egyptian national flags and banners with slogans " Stop U.S. funding of the Muslim Brotherhood", "Obama, don't send your dollars to Jihadists" and "Egypt will never be Pakistan". Riot police were deployed in front of the protestors.
Clinton arrived in Egypt's capital Cairo on Saturday for a two-day visit. She is so far the top U.S. official to have visited Egypt after Morsi assumed presidency on June 30. She will meet Egypt's military council chief Hussein Tantawi on Sunday.
"Obviously, We think it is important for all the nations in the region to try to maintain peace and stability, especially with so many economic challenges facing the region," she said.
"We certainly support the continuation of the peace agreement (between Israel and Egypt) as it has brought great benefits to Egypt. We will continue to do so, enabling the president to focus on the economic conditions in the internal political situation here in the country," Clinton said.
As to the Middle East peace process, Clinton reiterated "our goal is to help bring about the two-state solution. We know it can only happen if there is negotiation between Israelis and the Palestinians. That can only happen if all Palestinians are committed to seeking a political resolution, renouncing violence. Reconciliation is up to the Palestinians."
Last Sunday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns talked with Morsi in Cairo and delivered an invitation to Morsi to visit the U.S. while attending the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Burns told reporters his talks with Morsi was "constructive". He conveyed the message of Obama who asserted the U.S. strong commitment to building a new partnership with Egypt based on the principles of joint interests and mutual respect.