The Elders welcomed the group’s moderate, inclusive influence on Egyptian society. As President Carter noted: “These are not political leaders, but they speak with great authority for freedom, for equality under the law and before God.”
They were encouraged to hear how the constitution-drafting process is progressing, noting how quickly the transition is taking place. As Jimmy Carter later remarked to journalists: “The United States declared our independence in 1776, and it was only 12 years later that we finally got our constitution approved.”
They emphasised the importance of including all voices in the drafting of Egypt’s new constitution and encouraged all Egyptians to embrace the spirited debate taking place about their country’s future.
Jimmy Carter: “We understand the frustrations of those who may feel that change is coming too slowly. But change takes time. Egypt now has a democratically elected President and the military’s role has changed in a way that would have been difficult to imagine only a year ago... Change on this scale never happens overnight but the momentum of the past 20 months is a great source of hope and encouragement to us all.”