Skip to main content

Obama discusses 'fluid' Egyptian situation with national security team

By Steve Brusk, CNN Coverage Manager
July 8, 2013 -- Updated 0052 GMT (0852 HKT)
The Obama administration expressed concerns about political polarization and ongoing violence in Egypt.
The Obama administration expressed concerns about political polarization and ongoing violence in Egypt.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Administration criticizes ongoing violence in Egypt and urged leaders there to condemn it
  • Obama: U.S. "not aligned with, does not support, any particular Egyptian political party or group"
  • Kerry: U.S. "remains committed to the democratic process, not to any party or personality"

Washington (CNN) -- With developments in Egypt looming over his weekend trip to Camp David, President Barack Obama held a conference call with his national security team Saturday as the administration deals with what it calls "the very fluid situation."

The meeting came on a day of growing leadership questions in Egypt, as Mohamed ElBaredei for hours was reported to be on the brink of becoming Egypt's interim prime minister, but those reports were later denied.

As the administration continued its push for the Egyptian military to return a democratically-elected government, the White House said President Obama "reiterated that the United States is not aligned with, and does not support, any particular Egyptian political party or group ... the United States categorically rejects the false claims propagated by some in Egypt that we are working with specific political parties or movements to dictate how Egypt's transition should proceed."

Weighing Washington's response to Egypt
Obama's careful words on Egypt
Obama to Egypt: Return to civilian rule
Egyptians' views after the coup

A statement after the meeting said Obama "expressed concern over the continued political polarization" and violence. The White House statement said, "The future path of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. During this transitional period, we call on all Egyptians to come together in an inclusive process that allows for the participation of all groups and political parties. Throughout that process, the United States will continue to engage the Egyptian people in a spirit of partnership, consistent with our longstanding friendship and shared interests -- including our interest in a transition to sustainable democracy."

The Obama administration again criticized the ongoing violence and urged leaders there to condemn it.

"The United States is deeply troubled by the violence across Egypt. We strongly condemn any and all incitement to violence or attempts to divide and provoke, rather than unite, all Egyptians. The United States strongly condemns the violence by all parties and urges calm," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement Saturday evening.

"At the same time, we firmly reject the unfounded and false claims by some in Egypt that the United States supports the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood or any specific Egyptian political party or movement. The United States has always been and remains committed to the democratic process, not to any party or personality," Kerry's statement said.

"We want Egyptians to make their democracy work for the good of all Egyptians. At this sensitive moment, we call on all Egyptian leaders to condemn the use of force and prevent further violence among their supporters and we urge all those demonstrating to do so peacefully."

Administration officials made more calls to leaders in Egypt and in key countries the region. The State Department, in part blunting public relations issues over Kerry's working vacation in Nantucket, Massachusetts, noted in a statement that Kerry "over the days since the unrest in Egypt intensified ... has been in constant contact with the national security team, regional partners, and his counterparts."

Kerry has been in hourly touch with U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson, the State Department said.

The State Department said Kerry's calls in the last two days included one to ElBaradei. Other calls by him included ones to the Qatari, Emirati, Saudi and Turkish foreign ministers and Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

The State Department statement said his calls urged trying to end the violence, and "all parties -- the Muslim Brotherhood, opposition, and military -- to ensure that those expressing their views do so peacefully." Kerry, the statement said, "stressed that the United States wants to see Egypt's civilian transition succeed, and that the United States will do all it can to help encourage that effort."

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also spoke three times in the last two days with Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi. The Pentagon said Hagel "emphasized the need for a peaceful civilian transition in Egypt. He also noted the importance of security for the Egyptian people, Egypt's neighbors, and the region."

CNN National Security Producer Jamie Crawford contributed to this story.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Egypt
March 25, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
An Egyptian court sentences at least 528 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges related to violent riots in the southern Egyptian city of Minya.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour sends letter to the family of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
CNN's Sara Sidner talks about stepping in for Al Jazeera reporters since they have been barred from working in Egypt.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
How are the Arab Spring nations faring? What successes can they boast -- on democracy, economic progress, stability and women's rights -- and what challenges await?
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
A Cairo court has banned all activities by Hamas in Egypt, calling the Palestinian movement that runs Gaza a terrorist organization.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 2114 GMT (0514 HKT)
Lawyers representing Muslim Brotherhood members in a jailbreak case call for the judges to be changed.
February 20, 2014 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
Three Al Jazeera journalists face terrorism charges after being arrested in December. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.
February 9, 2014 -- Updated 1752 GMT (0152 HKT)
CNN's Christiane Amanpour son the Egyptian government's actions towards journalists.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0409 GMT (1209 HKT)
At least four people died and 14 were wounded by a blast on a tourist bus in the resort town of Taba, authorities say.
February 16, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Mohamed Morsy taunts officials who placed him in a soundproof glass box during his trial on conspiracy charges.
February 11, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
An Oscar-nominated film portrays a revolution squeezed into its margins,but that's where it started, writes H.A. Hellyer.
January 22, 2014 -- Updated 0818 GMT (1618 HKT)
"Democracy" is meaningless unless the right people are entrusted with implementing it, says Aalam Wassef.
February 6, 2014 -- Updated 2130 GMT (0530 HKT)
Egypt's military quashes a newspaper report that quoted Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi as saying he would run for president.
January 26, 2014 -- Updated 0802 GMT (1602 HKT)
Muslim Brotherhood supporters (background) clash with supporters of the Egyptian government in Cairo on January 25, 2014.
At least 49 people died in violence on the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution, state media says.
January 18, 2014 -- Updated 2204 GMT (0604 HKT)
Voters have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, a spokesman for Egypt's electoral commission says.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 0108 GMT (0908 HKT)
Egyptians vote for the first time since the military ousted Morsy. CNN's Ian Lee reports.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 0111 GMT (0911 HKT)
A study suggests Egyptians are far more likely to support military rule than people in many other Mideast countries.
January 14, 2014 -- Updated 2054 GMT (0454 HKT)
CNN's Becky Anderson speaks to Amre Moussa about what went into the creation of Egypt's constitutional draft.
January 14, 2014 -- Updated 1812 GMT (0212 HKT)
Egyptians have high hopes that the referendum will put an end to the bloodshed, but will Egypt be back where it was at the start of the revolution?
January 13, 2014 -- Updated 1557 GMT (2357 HKT)
International correspondents demand Egypt release three journalists they say have been detained arbitrarily for two weeks.
ADVERTISEMENT