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CAIRO -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met for the first time Saturday with Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, whose country remains politically unsettled 18 months after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
"Things change at kind of a warp speed," Mrs. Clinton said.
Mr. Morsi spoke in English about the speed of change, and then the former Muslim Brotherhood member -- once imprisoned by the repressive government that the United States supported for decades -- welcomed Mrs. Clinton. "We are very, very keen to meet you and happy that you are here," Mr. Morsi said.
Mr. Morsi, who took office last month, has yet to name a cabinet. The Egyptian parliament is in limbo, and the new constitution remains unwritten.
Mr. Morsi spent most of the week before Mrs. Clinton's visit embroiled in a power struggle with vestiges of the former government that showed how blurred the power lines remain. Mrs. Clinton's talks with Mr. Morsi and other top officials will combine expressions of support for Egypt's democratic transition with more detailed talks about financial aid, economic investment, and military support that the United States is offering, according to senior U.S. officials traveling with her.
Appearing later at a news conference with Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr, Mrs. Clinton said it was up to Egyptians to determine their future. But she stressed U.S. financial and political support for Egypt's new government.
She also praised Egypt's military council for its interim leadership. "We believe America's shared strategic interests with Egypt far outnumber our differences," she said.
Asked if she regretted the partnership successive U.S. governments had with Mubarak despite his suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood and imprisonment of Mr. Morsi, Mrs. Clinton said Washington by necessity worked with the government of the time.