11 February 2013

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

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Washington, DC — Excerpt from the United States Department of State daily press briefing: 

QUESTION: We're on the two-year anniversary of Hosni Mubarak stepping down in Egypt. There was some violence, some protests over the past few days. Can you give us an assessment of what the U.S. sees happening on the ground there?

And forgive me if you'd spoke to this on Friday, I wasn't here, but the Egyptian court's decision to block YouTube because of the American-made anti-Islam film that was linked to the violent protest that broached the U.S. Embassy last September, whether that was an appropriate decision.

MS. NULAND: Well, first on YouTube. It's - we've seen the reports about censorship of YouTube. It's actually not quite clear to us at this moment how and whether that's going to be enforced across Egypt. But as a general matter, you know that we reject censorship as a response to offensive speech. That kind of action violates the universal rights of citizens to exercise their freedom of expression, association, and assembly. We would rather see these kinds of concerns settled through dialogue.

With regard to the situation in Egypt in general, as we've been saying for 10 days - two weeks now, we are concerned that as Egyptian citizens express their frustrations with the pace of reform that they do so peacefully and as Egyptian security forces respond to those protests that they also exercise restraint. We continue to support a broad dialogue between Egypt's leaders and the various political stakeholders to work through the various issues of concern, because there needs to be a strong national consensus in Egypt about the way forward, whether we're talking about the economic way forward, whether we're talking about support for universal human rights as protected in the constitution, or rule of law issues, et cetera.

QUESTION: But there's not a heightened concern because of the anniversary necessarily?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think we're all watching the anniversary. We want to see peace on the streets.

Please, Scott.

QUESTION: You had a statement late Friday on fighting in Sudan, specifically North Darfur. Can you tell us if the United States is - what the United States is doing to try to resolve that fighting and address some of the humanitarian issues in that area?

MS. NULAND: With regard to the details on the humanitarian, let me get back to you, Scott. I think you know that we've been big supporters through UN agencies. The issue has been access, as you know. Ambassador Princeton Lyman has been very active with the parties, trying to encourage implementation of past agreements, to encourage access for humanitarian organizations, to discourage further violence. As you know, it's been quite difficult over these last months, but we stay on the job.

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