News / Middle East

US Urges Egyptian Military to Use Restraint

The United States on Monday condemned violence in Egypt, and urged the military to use maximum restraint.  The U.S. is urging Egyptians to come together to overcome political divisions, and to remain engaged in the political process. 
 
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States remains deeply concerned by increasing violence across Egypt and a "dangerous level of political polarization."
 
His remarks came amid reports Monday of the worst incident of violence since President Mohamed Morsi's ouster last week by Egypt's military. 
 
Soldiers and police clashed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters outside a Republican Guard building in Cairo. At least 51 people were killed, many more were injured.
 
Carney expressed condolences for those killed and wounded.  He urged Egypt's military to exercise restraint, and specifically condemned calls to violence by the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Saying Egypt's "stability and democratic political order are at stake," Carney said Egypt "will not emerge from this crisis unless its people come together to find a non-violent and inclusive path forward."
 
"The United States is not aligned with nor is it supporting any particular political party or group.  We remain actively engaged with all sides, and we are committed to supporting the Egyptian people as they seek to salvage their nascent democracy," he said. 
 
At the State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that U.S. contacts with all parties in Egypt include the Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party, but she would provide no further details of conversations.
 
Psaki was on the defensive as she responded to reporters asking why the Muslim Brotherhood should heed U.S. calls to engage in the political process after President Morsi's ouster.
 
"A democratic process is not just about casting your ballot. There are other factors in terms of - in addition to that, including how somebody behaves and how they govern. And this is a case where millions of people have spoken in the country. We are not judging that, but again, that's a real factor here," she said. 
 
Much of Monday's White House news briefing was devoted to questions about a critical decision facing President Obama and the U.S. Congress - whether to suspend $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt.
 
U.S. law requires suspension of aid if it is determined a democratically elected government has been overthrown.
 
Carney said the Obama administration does not believe any precipitous suspension of aid would be in the interests of the United States, but he said high-level consultations are continuing.
 
"We think, not just I, it would not be in the best interests of the United States to do that. We are reviewing our obligations under the law and we will be consulting with Congress about the way forward with regards specifically to the aid package that we provide," he said. 
 
Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy says President Obama and U.S. policy face some tough challenges in the current situation in Egypt.
 
"The challenge for doing policy in this environment is that the Muslim Brotherhood is not going to be willing to accept any scenario in which Morsi is not re-instated as president because they view his ouster as something that was stolen from them.  At the same time, the military by removing Morsi I think understands very well that is has no choice but to launch a full-out assault on the Brotherhood.  In that kind of situation where both sides are really digging their heals in and have absolutes that are mutually exclusive, it is very hard for the United States to exert leverage with either party," he said. 
 
White House spokesman Carney said Monday a transitional period in Egypt must be "defined by reconciliation rather than reprisals or rejection of the political process."
 
The U.S. called on Egypt's military to avoid arrests targeting specific groups or movements, and avoid restrictions on the media, and urged political parties and movements to remain engaged in dialogue.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More