6 December 2012

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


United States Department of State daily press briefing:


MR. TONER: Yeah.

QUESTION: You have tanks on the streets overnight in Cairo. You have Morsi's government being hit by a number of resignations. I'm wondering a, what's your assessment of the situation on the ground in Cairo and in Egypt broadly; and secondly, do you have any concerns now that the Morsi government's stability is being called into question by - particularly by all of these defections by his minister?

MR. TONER: Well, let me just say at the outset that we deplore the violence between rival groups of demonstrators that reportedly killed five people and injured hundreds last night as well as early this morning. We call on all Egyptian political leaders to lead by example in condemning these acts. And as Egyptians on both sides of these issues continue to express their views, we obviously look to the Government of Egypt to respect the freedoms of peaceful expression and assembly and to exercise restraint. Secretary Clinton spoke to this yesterday, I believe, that this kind of upheaval that we're seeing, Andy, indicates that dialogue is urgently needed. We need to see that dialogue in place. It's obvious that Egyptians have strong opinions regarding recent actions as well as the substance of the draft constitution, and we obviously need to see a dialogue in place as soon as possible to address their concerns.

Somebody's got a phone ringing.

QUESTION: Is the U.S. doing anything concrete to facilitate this dialogue? Is there anything you guys could do more?

MR. TONER: Well, we obviously maintain regular dialogue both with the Egyptian Government as well as all of the political leaders at all levels from across the political spectrum, and we're delivering that same message to all of them.

QUESTION: And how about the question of the sort of stability of the government now this has gone on for however many days? I mean, do you - is there any concern in this building that they're looking at something which could snowball into something much bigger now?

MR. TONER: Well, whenever there's this kind of level of violence in the streets, we're obviously concerned and we're monitoring the situation very closely. I understand President Morsi is supposed to speak to the country tonight. It's important, as we've said, that as soon as possible this dialogue begin, that the concerns of all the demonstrators begin to be addressed so that they can move forward in this process.

Yeah, in the back.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:06 p.m.)

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