News / Middle East

US Calls for Morsi's Release

FILE - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi addresses a conference June 26, 2013 in Cairo (Egyptian Presidency photo)
FILE - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi addresses a conference June 26, 2013 in Cairo (Egyptian Presidency photo)
The Obama administration is calling on Egyptian authorities to release deposed president Mohamed Morsi from detention.  Morsi has been under house arrest since Egyptian troops removed him from power last week.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says President Morsi should be freed as part of a push to include all political actors in a transitional authority, including Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

"An inclusive and sustainable democracy where all sectors of society, where all Egyptian people are fully represented, will represent all sides.  And we feel that includes of course the Muslim Brotherhood and other representatives that have been detained," said Psaki.

Muslim Brotherhood members are rejecting Egypt's military-appointed interim authorities and are demanding Morsi's return to power just one year after he took office.

Psaki says the United States is still evaluating events in Egypt to determine whether President Morsi's ouster was a coup - an important legal distinction that would affect more than $1 billion of U.S. assistance to Egypt.

While Obama administration officials have expressed concern about illegal detentions since the military's move, this is the first time Washington has called for Morsi's release.

While Psaki would not say outright that the United States no longer considers him to be Egypt's rightful ruler, she did say that senior U.S. officials are already meeting with interim President Adly Mansour.

"Moving forward with an inclusive process is what we would like to see.  And while, yes, we of course recognize that President Morsi was democratically elected, the question, and I have said this before as have many other officials, it's about more than what happens at the ballot box.  Most democratic transitions take years to take root and stabilize, especially following decades of autocratic rule," she said.

Asked if the United States would object to Morsi running again for president, Psaki said that is for Egyptians to decide.

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