U.S. Deplores Egyptian Violence and Return to Emergency Law
By Stephen Kaufman
14 August 2013
In response to the events in Egypt, Secretary of State John Kerry says “violence is simply not a solution in Egypt or anywhere else” and urges all sides to cooperate peacefully toward a political solution.
Washington — Secretary of State John Kerry says the violence between Egyptian security forces and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood has dealt “a serious blow” to the country’s reconciliation and to the hopes of Egyptians that their country will transition to a more democratic and inclusive society, and the country stands at a “pivotal moment.”
Speaking in Washington August 14, Kerry said that the United States strongly condemns the violence and that the Obama administration and other world governments have urged Egypt’s interim rulers to “respect the rights of free assembly and of free expression,” while also calling upon demonstrators to avoid violence and incitement.
“Today’s events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy. Egyptians inside and outside of the government need to take a step back,” Kerry said. “They need to calm the situation and avoid further loss of life.”
The secretary also said the United States is strongly opposed to seeing Egypt returned to a state of emergency law and called upon Egyptian authorities to end it as soon as possible and respect “basic human rights, including freedom of peaceful assembly and due process under the law.”
Egypt’s military and its interim authorities have “a unique responsibility to prevent further violence” and need to offer “constructive options for an inclusive, peaceful process across the entire political spectrum,” including amending Egypt’s constitution and holding parliamentary and presidential elections.
“Violence is simply not a solution in Egypt or anywhere else,” Kerry said. “Violence will not create a road map for Egypt’s future. Violence only impedes the transition to an inclusive civilian government, a government chosen in free and fair elections that governs democratically, consistent with the goals of the Egyptian revolution. And violence and continued political polarization will only further tear the Egyptian economy apart and prevent it from growing and providing the jobs and the future that the people of Egypt want so badly.”
Kerry said the promise of Egypt’s 2011 revolution has yet to be fully realized and that he remains convinced that a path toward a political solution is still possible.
At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said August 14 that “the world is watching” what is happening in Egypt and that the Obama administration has repeatedly called on Egyptian security forces to show restraint “and for the government to respect the universal rights of its citizens, just as we have urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.”
Earnest urged all parties in Egypt to “refrain from violence and resolve their differences peacefully.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said August 14 that the United States feels that the only productive path forward is for Egyptians of all sides to cooperate on moving a political process forward and said Secretary Kerry has been in contact with world and regional leaders, including Egypt’s interim foreign minister and former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, who resigned over the violence, to discuss the situation in Egypt.
“We can’t force a solution here. We can play a productive role suggesting constructive steps forward, which we’ve done, and we are happy to play any role we can play in moving Egypt back to a sustainable democracy, but it’s up to the Egyptian people, it’s up to the Egyptian parties to make those choices,” Psaki said.
She said U.S. aid to Egypt has been under review and will continue to be scrutinized in response to the violence.
“Looking at the events today and the events of the last couple of weeks, we’ll continue to not only monitor and be engaged, but we’ll review the implications for our broader relationship with Egypt, which includes aid,” she said, adding that the United States is always “considering ways to better help, better play a role … in helping Egypt return to a sustainable democracy.”