Kerry, White House Try to Beat Back Belief That They're Rooting for Muslim Brotherhood
Three days after the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Secretary of State John Kerry finally spoke about the revolution in a late Saturday night statement -- in an effort to beat back widespread sentiment that the U.S. backed and continues to support the Muslim Brotherhood.
"The United States is deeply troubled by the violence across Egypt. We strongly condemn any and all incitement to violence or attempts to divide and provoke, rather than unite, all Egyptians. The United States strongly condemns the violence by all parties and urges calm," Kerry said.
"At the same time, we firmly reject the unfounded and false claims by some in Egypt that the United States supports the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood or any specific Egyptian political party or movement. The United States has always been and remains committed to the democratic process, not to any party or personality. We want Egyptians to make their democracy work for the good of all Egyptians," he continued.
Tamarod protesters carried signs denouncing both President Obama and U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson, who met with Muslim Brotherhood leaders before the massive opposition protests a week ago, as supporters of the regime and its nefarious activities.
"At this sensitive moment, we call on all Egyptian leaders to condemn the use of force and prevent further violence among their supporters and we urge all those demonstrating to do so peacefully. The United States wants to see Egypt’s ongoing transition succeed for the benefit of the Egyptian people," Kerry said.
Islamists, some vowing to launch suicide bombings across the country and set Christians on fire (see video at end of story), protested Friday in support of Morsi, sparking clashes in which three dozen people were killed. Mina Aboud Sharween, a Coptic Christian priest, was shot dead while walking in the northern Sinai on Friday.
Kerry said "the Egyptians themselves must come together and make the tough decisions" necessary for a successful transition.
"As I said in March when I was in Cairo, the United States supports the people of Egypt in their continued transition to a stable, sovereign Egyptian democracy. The only solution to the current impasse is for all parties to work together peacefully to address the many legitimate concerns and needs of the people and to ensure Egypt has a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the millions of Egyptians who have taken to the streets to demand a better future," he said.
"Lasting stability in Egypt will only be achieved through a transparent and inclusive democratic process with participation from all sides and all political parties. This process must also ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts."
The last part of Kerry's sentence was likely a response to arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders that happened after Morsi's removal.
"The Egyptian people seek and deserve an honest, capable and representative democratic government. As President Obama has said, 'no transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people,'" Kerry continued. "The longstanding partnership and friendship between the United States and Egypt is of great importance to the United States, and we will continue to support the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds."
The State Department was caught in a fib about Kerry's whereabouts on Wednesday, when the 48-hour deadline given to Morsi by the Egyptian military ran out and the ouster was imminent. “Since his plane touched down in Washington at 4 a.m., Secretary Kerry was working all day and on the phone dealing with the crisis in Egypt,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
However, reporters spotted Kerry boarding his yacht Wednesday. Psaki then "clarified" her statement to say that the secretary of State was focusing on the historic overthrow in Egypt while yachting.
“While he was briefly on his boat on Wednesday, Secretary Kerry worked around the clock all day,” said Psaki.