News / Middle East

West Increases Pressure on Egypt

An Egyptian takes video of the burning remains of the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, in the center of the largest protest camp of Morsi supporters that was cleared by security forces, Nasr city, Cairo, August 15, 2013.
An Egyptian takes video of the burning remains of the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, in the center of the largest protest camp of Morsi supporters that was cleared by security forces, Nasr city, Cairo, August 15, 2013.
VOA News
Western powers have stepped up pressure on Egypt's interim government, a day after its crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi left hundreds dead.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday he has canceled a major U.S.-Egypt joint military exercise scheduled for next month.  The "Bright Star" exercise typically is held every two years and boosts the prestige of the Egyptian army, whose ties to the United States go back decades.

Interrupting his vacation in the state of Massachusetts to announce the move, Obama said he wants to sustain U.S. cooperation with Egypt, which receives more than $1 billion in U.S. military aid annually.  But, he warned of further steps if Egyptian authorities continue to engage in what he called "violence against civilians."

Related video report by Michael Lipin:

Egypt's Protest Crackdown Draws Criticism in West, Pro-Morsi Nationsi
X
August 15, 2013 12:15 PM
Egypt's violent crackdown on supporters of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi has triggered condemnations from Western powers and Muslim nations who backed the ousted leader. VOA's Michael Lipin has more from Washington
In Europe, Egyptian ambassadors were summoned by Britain, France, Germany and Italy to hear objections to Wednesday's crackdown on pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo.

Obama also called for an end to violence by supporters of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has demanded the former president's reinstatement after the military deposed him on July 3.

"Let me say that the Egyptian people deserve better than what we have seen over the last several days. And to the Egyptian people, let me say the cycle of violence and escalation needs to stop," said President Obama.

French President Francois Hollande's office said he condemned the killings in Egypt and urged it to do everything possible to avoid a civil war.  German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle also called for the fighting to end.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr appealed to the Egyptian government to exercise restraint.

"We underline the need for a peaceful resolution, a compromise between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood and an end to the loss of life, the resort to violence.  Respect for minorities.  I think that is a very important theme that needs to be underlined as well," said Carr.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who supported Morsi's year-long administration, called for the U.N. Security Council to respond quickly to what he described as Egypt's massacre of protesters.  Erdogan also criticized Western powers for not taking tougher action against Egypt.

"You remained silent in Palestine, Gaza, you remained silent in Syria.  One hundred thousand people lost their lives and you are still remaining silent.  Four hundred thousand people are seeking refuge in Turkey and still [you are] remaining silent.  You are still silent on Egypt," said Erdogan. "So how come you talk about democracy, freedom, global values and human rights?''

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the reports of mass fatalities in Egypt's unrest "point to an excessive, even extreme use of force against demonstrators."

Pillay called for an independent investigation of the conduct of Egyptian security forces. But, she also acknowledged allegations that some protesters were heavily armed and said demonstrators must remain peaceful.

China declined to criticize the Egyptian government as a state television anchorwoman read the Chinese foreign ministry's first reaction to the situation.

"China urges all relevant parties in Egypt to put national and the people's interest first, maintain the maximum restraint to avoid more casualties, bridge differences through dialogue and negotiations, restore order and social stability," she said.

Russia limited its comment on Egypt to a message urging Russian citizens to refrain from traveling to Egypt.

The United Arab Emirates expressed understanding for the Egyptian government, which it said took sovereign measures against the pro-Morsi protesters after exercising "maximum self-control."  The UAE is an opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood and provided $3 billion in aid to the interim government that replaced Morsi.

Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for peace in Egypt.

"Painful news, unfortunately, reaches us from Egypt. I wish to ensure that my prayers are with all the victims and their families, the wounded and those who are suffering. Let us pray together for peace, dialogue and reconciliation in that beloved land and in the whole world," said Pope Francis.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs