US 'cautiously encouraged' by timeline for Egypt vote

US 'cautiously encouraged' by timeline for Egypt vote

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
US cautiously encouraged by timeline for Egypt vote

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, July 9. AP photo

The White House said July 9 it was "cautiously encouraged" by a timeline proposed by Egypt's interim rulers for elections to replace ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

"We will not prescribe a timeline. We are cautiously encouraged by ... a plan that includes a return to a democratically elected government that includes parliamentary and presidential elections," spokesman Jay Carney said.

Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour has set out plans to revise the constitution and hold fresh parliamentary elections in the coming months, with a presidential vote possible by early next year.

The Muslim Brotherhood, furious over the military coup that brought down Egypt's first democratically elected leader, immediately rejected the plan, drawing a stern warning from the military against any disruption.

The military drove Morsi from power last week and arrested him after millions of protesters took to the streets to demand his ouster, saying his government had failed the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

The Brotherhood has held its own mass protests in recent days, and on Monday more than 50 people were killed when the military opened fire on demonstrators in Cairo.

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has declined to say whether the military intervention was a "coup," adopting a wait-and-see attitude while encouraging a swift return to elected civilian rule.

The United States provides $1.5 billion of mostly military aid to Egypt - a key regional ally - every year, but is legally barred from aiding countries in which the military overthrows an elected government.

Morsi opponents insist the military's action was not a coup but a necessary response to widespread rejection of a failed government.