US Denies Urging Early Egyptian Elections
The State Department is denying reports that the U.S. is calling on Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to schedule early elections.
"The reports that we have been urging early elections are inaccurate," State spokesman Jen Psake said at her briefing on Tuesday.
She said the U.S. has called for Egypt to allow protests and to respect democracy, both publicly and in private, but that the U.S. had not called for early elections, The Hill reported.
Psaki's statement follows a report by CNN that the U.S. had called on Morsi to hold early elections.
"We are saying to him, 'Figure out a way to go for new elections,'" one senior official told CNN. "That may be the only way that this confrontation can be resolved."
National Security Council Spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan disputed the characterization that the administration is “urging” elections saying, "It is not accurate that the United States is 'urging' President Morsy to call early elections. President Obama has encouraged President Morsy to take steps to show that he is responsive to the concerns of the Egyptian people and underscored that the current crisis can only be resolved through a political process. As the President has made clear since the revolution, only Egyptians can make the decisions that will determine their future.”
"We are trying to get President Morsi to appoint a new prime minister, a new Cabinet, and get rid of the prosecutor general," a senior official told CNN. "This is the kind of outreach he needs to do to demonstrate to the opposition that he is governing all Egyptians. So far he hasn't done anything to show that."
Officials had warned the Egyptian military that a military coup may result in the end of American financial aid, which amounts to about $1.5 billion per year.
"There are specific consequences," the senior official told CNN. "As much as we appreciate their statement that they intend to protect the Egyptian people, they need to be careful about how they inject themselves into the situation. We are telling them that playing a role with their ultimatum to get the two sides together is completely appropriate, but anything that looks like a military takeover is walking a very thin line."