Hillary Rodham Clinton
Alex Brandon  /  AP
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton boards her plane for a trip to Haiti at Andrews AFB, Md., on Sunday.
updated 1/31/2011 9:11:02 AM ET 2011-01-31T14:11:02

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is convening an unprecedented mass meeting of U.S. ambassadors.

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The top envoys from nearly all of America's 260 embassies, consulates and other posts in more than 180 countries will be gathering at the State Department beginning on Monday. Officials say it's the first such global conference.

Video: Clinton stresses ‘orderly’ transition in Egypt (on this page)

The gathering comes at a time of crisis in Egypt that could reshape dynamics in the Middle East, fallout from leaked diplomatic documents and congressional calls for sweeping cuts in foreign aid.

Video: Crisis in Egypt tests relations with Mubarak (on this page)

Although the meeting has been called to discuss U.S. foreign policy priorities for 2011, officials say Clinton plans to meet personally with ambassadors from front-line states to hear about developments on the ground. Officials also expect that specific concerns about the WikiLeaks revelations will be raised.

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Video: Clinton stresses ‘orderly’ transition in Egypt

  1. Closed captioning of: Clinton stresses ‘orderly’ transition in Egypt

    >>> and now on to the response to all of this from the white house . today, secretary of state hillary clinton was the face of the administration, apeerng he every network to call for an orderly transition to democracy in egypt . she spoke with nbc's david gregory on "meet the press."

    >> should mubarak lose power? would the united states offer him sanctuary?

    >> yeah, i believe strongly that we are only at the beginning of what is unfolding in egypt . i'm not going to go into hypotheticals and speculation, other than to say that president mubarak and his government have been an important partner to the united states .

    >> but aid like to see him stay in power?

    >> david, you cannot keep trying to put words in my mouth. i have never said that i don't intend to say that. i want the egyptian people to have the chance to chart a new future. it needs to be an orderly, peaceful transition to real democracy, not faux democracy, like the elections we saw in iran two years ago, where you have one election 30 years ago and then the people just keep staying in power and become less and less responsive to their people. we want to see a real democracy that reflects the vibrancy of egyptian society. and we believe that president mubarak , his government, civil society , political activists, need to be part of a national dialogue to bring that about.

    >> secretary clint on "meet the press" this morning. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell in washington with us tonight. andrea, you saw the secretary bristol there will for a moment saying don't put words in my mouth. the united states walking a delicate line here, calling for a transition to democracy ?

    >> exactly right. absolutely. good evening, kate. the key change today is that call by the president and secretary clinton for what they are saying is an orderly transition. officials say that means permitting political parties , debate, real elections with a choice of candidates for the first time. they want to avoid the impression, you saw that with the secretary's statement, that the u.s. is in any way calling the shots. they he know that would backfire them he fear that if mubarak were forced to give up power now, right away, islamic extremists would try to take over a big u.s. concern, of course is what's happening in egypt and before that in tunisia will now spread to other pro-west arab countries . and in fact, when president obama talked to the saudi king, king abdullah this weekend, u.s. officials said that the president stressed the need for universal rights and an orderly transition to a government that is "responsive to the egyptian people ." but the saudis says the two leaders talked about looting and attempts to ignite the flames of chaos a senior u.s. official told me that what we see as democracy they see as chaos. another official said that the king sees the writing on the wall and fears it is now coming his way.

    >> and andrea, what about on the military side? is the pentagon in touch with military leaders over in egypt ?

    >> you belt, kate. both defense secretary gates and the chairman of the joint chiefs , admiral mullins, have both talked to their counterparts this weekend, urging the army to keep doing what it's doing, means don't crackdown on the protesters but go after the looters to preserve order.

    >> forgive me, andrea mitchell in washington tonight, thank you so


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