The conclusion of historic two days of voting in the first round of the presidential election marks “another important milestone” in transition to Egyptian democracy, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

“We look forward to working with Egypt’s democratically elected government,” Ms. Clinton said in a statement.

“We will continue to stand with the Egyptian people as they work to seize the promise of last year’s uprising and build a democracy that reflects their values and traditions, respects universal human rights, and meets their aspirations for dignity and a better life,” she said.

Earlier, during her joint media appearance with the visiting New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully, Ms. Clinton said, “this is obviously an important milestone in Egypt’s transition to democratic government. And the world is watching as the Egyptian people embark on their journey toward a freer, more democratic future debating and deciding among themselves about the best way to take these first steps. And we will continue to support them.”

In another statement, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said despite some minor irregularities, reports so far indicate that the voting process has been free, fair and peaceful.

That speaks volumes about the resilience of the Egyptian people after a year of economic and political turmoil, he said.

“We do not yet know the winner, but we know that person starts off with a steep hill to climb, with constitutional powers that have not yet been defined. These are among the issues Egyptians have to work through, but they are dwarfed by the immediate challenge of high unemployment, growing crime and the stagnant economy,” Mr. Kerry said.

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