28 November 2012

Egypt: U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing: Egypt

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QUESTION: Can we go back to Egypt?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: I wondered what the U.S. reaction is to the chaotic scenes we saw again in Tahrir Square overnight with teargas being thrown. I believe there was quite a lot of injuries and maybe one or two deaths.

And then also, secondly, there's - the panel that is looking into the drawing up the constitution has said that they're nearly finished, the wording's going to be completed today, and they're going to vote on it tomorrow. Is this something that has been communicated to you guys at all, and have you seen any draft?

MS. NULAND: Well, we obviously continue to follow very closely the political situation in Egypt, which is still very much unfolding. As you said, Jo, you can see it on the streets, but there is also a huge amount of internal discussion going on among stakeholders still in Egypt. We have continued to call for a peaceful and inclusive dialogue between the Government of Egypt and all of the various stakeholders, and that those protesting in the streets do so peacefully, that the whole process be peaceful.

We do remain concerned about the lack of consensus among the various groups, and we reiterate the call that we've been making for many days now for a full and inclusive dialogue to address any differences, both on the declarations that the government's made with regard to the interim period, but also with regard to the constitutional issues. I don't believe that we have seen a full draft of what will be put forward. Frankly, I don't think it's been published either in Egypt.

So these are very, very important issues and they need to be taken forward in a consensual manner that satisfies as many stakeholders in Egypt as possible.

QUESTION: Do you find it surprising that only less than a week after President Morsi made this decree that suddenly the constitutional panel seems to have managed to work out everything and is ready to present a draft?

MS. NULAND: Again, we've seen some of these public statements, but we have to see how this goes forward. You know there have been a number of fits and starts in this process. We want to see it be, obviously, peaceful, consensual, and deliberative and really taking into account the views of as many Egyptians as possible so that it has roots and legs.

QUESTION: Are you hopeful or optimistic any deal is going to come out between the - President Morsi and judiciary?

MS. NULAND: Well, I obviously don't have a crystal ball. We're obviously watching the situation.

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