Obama on Egypt: We Don't Support One Party or Another
The United States is “not aligned” with any political party or group in Egypt following the ouster of Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi, President Barack Obama clarified on Saturday.
Obama, who spoke with members of his National Security Council via conference call about the situation in Egypt, “condemned the ongoing violence across Egypt and expressed concern over the continued political polarization,” according to a White House statement quoted by AFP.
He “reiterated that the United States is not aligned with, and does not support, any particular Egyptian political party or group,” according to the statement.
“The United States categorically rejects the false claims propagated by some in Egypt that we are working with specific political parties or movements to dictate how Egypt’s transition should proceed,” it said.
“We remain committed to the Egyptian people and their aspirations for democracy, economy opportunity, and dignity. But the future path of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people.”
Last week, protesting Egyptians blamed Obama, who was a principal backer of the revolution against Hosni Mubarak and enthusiastically endorsed the election of Morsi, for the ousted president's repressive ways.
The White House called on Egyptians to “come together in an inclusive process that allows for the participation of all groups and political parties.”
“We urge all Egyptian leaders to condemn the use of force and to prevent further violence among their supporters, just as we urge all those demonstrating to do so peacefully,” said the statement, according to AFP.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator John McCain has called for a suspension of U.S. military aid to Egypt following the ouster of Morsi, breaking with the official position in Washington.
“I’ve thought long and hard about this, but I believe that we have to suspend the aid to the Egyptian military, because the Egyptian military has overturned the vote of the people of Egypt,” McCain said Friday evening at a press conference in his home state of Arizona, according to AFP.
“We cannot repeat the same mistakes we made at other times in our history by supporting the removal of freely elected governments,” the 2008 presidential candidate said.
“So I believe that the aid has to be suspended, that the Egyptian military has to set a timetable for elections and new Constitution, and then we should evaluate whether to continue the aid or not,” he added.
“And I am aware that by suspending aid to the Egyptian military, which is the only stable institution in Egypt, we are risking further problems in the Sinai, and in other areas of cooperation with the Egyptian military,” McCain said.
“I say that with great reluctance, but the United States of America I think must learn the lessons of history and that is: we cannot stand by without acting in cases where freely elected governments are unseated by the military arm of those nations,” he concluded.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr told his American counterpart John Kerry last week that Morsi’s overthrow had not been a military coup.
"The American side is a strategic partner for Egypt and the welfare of the Egypt is important to them," said Amr in a telephone call with Kerry.
"I hope that they read the situation in the right way, that this is not a military coup in any way. This was actually the overwhelming will of the people," Amr said. A military overthrow of an elected leader entails economic sanctions and could result in the U.S. cutting off its aid to Egypt.