Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called his Egyptian counterpart, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, on Sunday to again tsk-tsk the interim government for not being “inclusive.”
It was the first such call in a month and comes after Egypt branded the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. That came in the wake of a bombing at the security directorate headquarters in Mansoura that killed 16, but Egyptians made clear that the designation was warranted by a long history of incitement and violence by the MB.
“Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Egyptian Minister of Defense General Al-Sisi today to discuss recent events in Egypt,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said. “Secretary Hagel expressed his condolences for the loss of life and injuries from the bombings in Mansoura, Nasr City, and Sharkiya province. The secretary condemned the attacks and offered the assistance of the Department of Defense to help the Egyptian government investigate the attacks.”
“Both men discussed the balance between security and freedom, and the Secretary stressed the role of political inclusiveness in the democratic process. Secretary Hagel also expressed concerns about the political climate in advance of the constitutional referendum, including the continued enforcement of a restrictive demonstrations law,” Kirby continued.
“The Secretary and Minister also discussed the desires of the Egyptian people for a civilian-led democracy, stability, and economic opportunities.”
Secretary of State John Kerry called Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on Thursday and “expressed concern about the interim Egyptian government’s December 25 terrorist designation of the Muslim Brotherhood, and recent detentions and arrests,” according to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
She said Kerry “underscored the need for an inclusive political process across the political spectrum that respects the fundamental human rights of all Egyptians in order to achieve political stability and democratic change.”
An administration source indicated to Reuters that the White House has no intention of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and sees Egypt as going “way too far” against the MB.
The interim government today advised the Arab League of the terrorist designation for the Brotherhood, saying “Egyptian authorities will take necessary measures in accordance with the Arab anti-terrorism agreement and the Arab money-laundering and terrorism-funding agreement in cooperation and liaison with the sisterly Arab nations.”
Libya, Tunisia, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar have called the decision an internal matter for Egypt.