News / Middle East

Morsi's Assumption of Sweeping Powers in Egypt Concerns US

Mohammed Morsi sitting in Ittihadiya Palace, the official residence of the president, in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo (photo from 10/07/12).
Mohammed Morsi sitting in Ittihadiya Palace, the official residence of the president, in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo (photo from 10/07/12).
The United States is concerned about Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi taking on broader powers, saying it does not want to see too much authority resting in too few hands. The president's decree has sparked protests by opposition activists, who continued to camp out in Cairo's Tahrir Square for a fourth day Monday to demand that Morsi reverse his decision.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr Monday to discuss President Morsi's assumption of broader powers.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Secretary Clinton underscored the importance Washington places on settling these disputes democratically.

"We want to see the constitutional process move forward in a way that does not overly concentrate power in one set of hands, that ensures that rule of law, checks and balances, protections of the rights of all groups in Egypt are upheld," she said.

Egyptian judges hope to persuade the president to limit the sweeping powers he granted himself last week.  Morsi says placing his decisions above judicial review is temporary.

He met Monday with Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council to explain the move. Nuland says that is encouraging.

"The fact that the right people are talking to each other is a good step, but obviously we want to see this issue resolved in a way that meets the standards and principles that we have been supporting all the way through since the Egyptian revolution began," she said.

A protester throws stones as others run for cover during clashes with riot police at Tahrir Square in Cairo, November 26, 2012.A protester throws stones as others run for cover during clashes with riot police at Tahrir Square in Cairo, November 26, 2012.
A protester throws stones as others run for cover during clashes with riot police at Tahrir Square in Cairo, November 26, 2012.
A protester throws stones as others run for cover during clashes with riot police at Tahrir Square in Cairo, November 26, 2012.
Rallies against the president's greater powers have reinvigorated a fractured opposition in Cairo, with some of his opponents accusing the new president of attempting to become "a new pharaoh."

Without a functioning legislature, Nuland says Egypt's post-revolutionary democracy is operating in a "very unclear political environment."

"It is a very murky, uncertain period in terms of the legal and constitutional underpinnings, which makes it all the more important that the process proceed on the basis of democratic dialogue and consultation," she said.

The State Department spokeswoman would not say whether President Morsi's decision might affect U.S. backing for International Monetary Fund assistance to Egypt's new government.

During her conversation with Foreign Minister Amr, Secretary Clinton also discussed the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas authorities in Gaza.​

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Elle from: US
November 26, 2012 8:29 PM
During the "Arab Spring", the Obama administration told us that we risk being on the wrong side if we remained aligned with secular Egypt’s government. Maybe so, however, recent events have made it clear there is a wrong side for freedom in the Middle East and, thanks to the administration backing up of the Muslim Brotherhood, we’re on it. I presume, a new Iranian freedom..

by: Jeffery from: Los Angeles
November 26, 2012 8:09 PM
The US wants this exactly. What a joke statement by Washington. Payoff Morsi (like his predecessor was paid off) and control Egypt and its borders - especially the "Gaza" border.

by: Chris from: TN
November 26, 2012 7:43 PM
Why would the U.S. be worried about Egypt's leaders power grabs when the executive branch here in the states has been doing the exact same thing through the patriot act, the military commissions act, NDAA, a number of cyber bills, and a host of other bills which remove freedom from the people?

by: George Washington from: Mount Vernon
November 26, 2012 7:16 PM
"U.S....saying it does not want to see too much authority resting in too few hands"
Irony defined, my fellow citizens. It's incredibly sick how such an obvious media focus shift is able to even take place in an increasingly oppresive government state. The United State's bid for true freedom has strayed so far from the path of realistic probability that under the constant distractions of modern society we as the people are oblivious to the futility of a popular vote or independent belief. The Middle East has been at war and under oppression since the beginning of recorded history, and by creating a media system where this sort of foreign vulgarity and violence is always headline news, society has metaphorically dug its own grave by allowing fear to dictate our lives and what we as the citizens of a potentially great, free country are able to do about it. LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD

by: Kablooy from: US
November 26, 2012 6:47 PM
A muslim attaining complete control of a away while you still can!

by: Ol' Bob from: USA
November 26, 2012 6:46 PM
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

by: Tom from: USA
November 26, 2012 6:40 PM
This is what Islamic Republics have alwasy become, ruthless dictatorships....that is why electing a known terrorist group to power in Palestine is such a slap in the face to Democracy...Democracy was created to stop dictatorships not allow them because they were voted in by completely corrupt uneducated people who don't even begin to understand what freedom means. In fact the farce that was the elections in Palestine can only be compared to other ruthless dictators who did the same thing throughout history held elections and declared themselves the winners....complete disgrace to Democracy, Freedom and a total disregard for world history.

by: Bernard Lenz from: U.S.A.
November 26, 2012 6:30 PM
Wow! A promoter of the Islamic Brotherhood running over the rights of other human beings who are not Islamic is not news. It is simply Islamic Dogma. Anyone who thinks that the Koran does not teach total domination of the world and absolute conversion/captivity of non-Islamic followers can not read, think or observe. This is just Islam in action. Tapdance, distract and take over. Soon followed by modified slavery for Women, girls and everyone else in varying degrees. In the event the complete surrender of society at the door of Islam is not taking place fast enough...then murder, torture and lie until it does.

by: Stefan Schreier from: Boise Idaho
November 26, 2012 6:26 PM
"....concerns U.S."? Why? What business is it of ours?

by: James Foster from: Hermosillo, Sonora, MX
November 26, 2012 6:21 PM
I wasn't aware that Egypt was answerable to the United States.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs