News / Middle East

US Concerned by Egyptian Military Moves

An Egyptian soldier directs a voter inside a polling station June 16, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt.An Egyptian soldier directs a voter inside a polling station June 16, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt.
x
An Egyptian soldier directs a voter inside a polling station June 16, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt.
An Egyptian soldier directs a voter inside a polling station June 16, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt.
The United States is expressing concern about the Egyptian military’s move to limit the new president’s powers and expand its own.

Both the U.S. State Department and the Defense Department weighed in Monday on the new Constitutional Declaration issued by Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which observers say makes the country’s incoming leader largely ceremonial.

“We believe Egypt’s transition must continue and that Egypt is made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement. “We have, and will continue, to urge the SCAF to relinquish power to civilian-elected authorities and to respect the universal rights of the Egyptian people and the rule of law.”

Final results from Egypt’s presidential runoff election are not expected until later this week, but Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood has already claimed victory over Ahmed Shafiq, an ally of former president Hosni Mubarak. Shafiq's campaign says he is ahead.

As the polls closed and early results from Saturday and Sunday’s vote began to show Morsi in the lead, the SCAF declared the new president would not have power over the military, and the ruling military council would have the right to pass laws until a new parliament is sworn in.

The move follows a Supreme Court decision last week to dissolve the Egyptian parliament, where the Islamist party had held a majority. Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other activists who joined the revolution that forced longtime leader Mubarak to step down last year are accusing the military of carrying out a "soft coup."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. is “particularly concerned” by decisions that appear to prolong the military's hold on power.

“This is a critical moment in Egypt, and the world is watching closely,” Nuland said, adding “there can be no going back on the democratic transition.”

“The United States stands with the Egyptian people in their aspiration to choose their own leaders," she said, quoting the sentiments of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Nuland said the U.S. is calling on the SCAF to restore popular and international confidence in the democratic transition process by following through on their commitments.

That includes, she said, an inclusive constitutional drafting process, the timely seating of a democratically-elected parliament, and the swift, permanent transfer of power to a civilian government.

The SCAF pushed back Monday against accusations that it is overstepping its authority and suggested the situation had been exaggerated. 

During a press conference in Cairo, Major General Mamdouh Shahin said the military council’s amendments to its previous Constitutional Declaration were to ensure that no particular person had authority over Egypt’s legislative and executive branches. He said the president would still have the ability to veto laws.

 

The U.S. has provided billions in military aid to Egypt over three decades of close relations. The Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. wants that relationship to continue, but that it will be closely monitoring the SCAF’s next moves.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid