Hillary Clinton to Egyptians: Seize this moment

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil el-Arabi, right, in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, March 15, 2011. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was pressing Egypt's transitional leaders Tuesday to follow through on pledges for democratic reform after the ouster of the country's longtime autocratic president in a popular revolt. AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

CAIRO -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told Egyptians on Tuesday that "this moment of history belongs to you," and they should use it to build on the success of the revolution that ousted the country's longtime autocratic leaders and to embrace democratic reforms.

"Today, Egypt is rising. Egypt, the mother of the world, is now giving birth to democracy," Clinton said.

Making her first visit to what she called the "new Egypt," Clinton said the country's path to elections and greater freedom will be hard work but that America will help.

The first U.S. cabinet-level official to visit Cairo since the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Clinton said the transition that is happening now is as important as the peaceful protests that toppled the entrenched leadership.

Americans were inspired by the revolution, Clinton said, adding that Egyptians should make good on it by building an inclusive society that is more open, more prosperous and more free.

"To the people of Egypt, let me say: this moment of history belongs to you," Clinton said following talks with Egypt's new foreign minister, Nabil al-Araby. "This is your achievement and you broke barriers and overcame obstacles to pursue the dream of democracy."

Clinton applauded an announcement Tuesday of further dismantling of the state security apparatus and said Egypt now needs to prepare for free, fair elections to produce "leaders that will be able to respond to (your) aspirations."

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