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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs