US condemns bloody crackdown against protesters in Egypt

US condemns bloody crackdown against protesters in Egypt

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
US condemns bloody crackdown against protesters in Egypt

Security forces take up positions during clashes with stone-throwing pro-Mursi supporters around the area of Rabaa Adawiya square, where the protesters are camping, in Cairo, Aug. 14. REUTERS photo

The United States on Aug. 14 strongly condemned Egyptian forces' bloody crackdown on protesters and denounced the imposition of a state of emergency.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest urged the Egyptian military to show restraint after a crackdown on supporters of deposed elected President Mohamed Morsi.

"The United States strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters in Egypt," Earnest told reporters.

"Violence will only make it more difficult to move Egypt forward on a path to lasting stability and democracy and runs directly counter to the pledges by the interim government to pursue reconciliation," he said.

Using term coup not in 'U.S. interest'

Egypt's army-installed authorities declared a one-month state of emergency as it cleared out two large protests by Mori supporters.

"We also strongly oppose a return to a state of emergency law and call on the government to respect basic human rights such as freedom of peaceful assembly and due process under the law," Earnest said.

"The world is watching what is happening in Cairo. We urge the government of Egypt and all parties in Egypt to refrain from violence and resolve their differences peacefully," he said.

Earnest was speaking in Martha's Vineyard, the tony island in Massachusetts where President Barack Obama is on vacation.

The United States has repeatedly called for restraint but has refused to describe the army's July 3 ouster of Morsi, an Islamist, as a coup.

The designation of a coup would bind the Obama administration to halt the $1.5 billion in annual military aid to Egypt.

Earnest, while condemning the crackdown, repeated the administration's position on using the term coup: "We have determined that it is not in the best interest of the United States to make that determination." "We are, on a regular basis, reviewing the aid that is provided by the United States to Egypt," he said.

Obama monitoring Egypt while golfing

Earnest said that Obama, who was golfing on Aug.14, was "closely monitoring" the situation in Egypt. National security adviser Susan Rice traveled with Obama to Martha's Vineyard.

U.S. ally Israel has strongly supported the continuation of U.S. aid to Egypt, seeing the military as critical in maintaining a peace treaty and opposing Islamists.