WASHINGTON, June 24 U.S. President Barack Obama
congratulated Egyptian President-elect Mohamed Morsy by phone on
Sunday, and also called the Islamist's defeated rival, Ahmed
Shafik, to encourage him to stay active in Egyptian politics,
the White House said.
The two calls took place hours after Morsy was declared
Egypt's first freely-elected president, sparking joy among
Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Shafik, a former air force
commander, was the last prime minister of Egypt's long-time
leader Hosni Mubarak.
"The president underscored that the United States will
continue to support Egypt's transition to democracy and stand by
the Egyptian people as they fulfill the promise of their
revolution," the White House said in a statement about Obama's
conversation with Morsy.
"The president emphasized his interest in working together
with the new Egyptian president and all Egyptian political
groups to advance the shared interests between the United States
and Egypt," it said in a separate statement about the Shafik
call, saying Obama urged him to help unify the Egyptian people.
Earlier on Sunday, the White House described Morsy's victory
as a "milestone" in Egypt's transition to democracy and urged
the new leader to respect the rights of all Egyptians, including
women and religious minorities.
Shafik had promised to protect Egypt from being dragged back
to the "dark ages" under Islamist rule.
(Reporting By Laura MacInnis; Editing by Paul Simao)