Due to the recent violence in Egypt and the actions of the interim government, President Obama said Thursday that the relationship between the two nations cannot continue as usual.
Speaking from Massachusetts, the president said that the United States had canceled a joint military exercise planned for next month and said the White House is examining further steps that can be taken as well.
“The cycle of violence and escalation needs to stop,” Obama said, condemning the actions of the military-backed interim government and security forces.
Obama called on both the Egyptian authorities and protestors to cease the violence and extended his condolences to those affected by the violence.
In the last few days, clashes between government forces and protesters backing ousted President Mohamed Morsi have killed 525, and injured 3,572 others, according to the health ministry. The violence prompted the declaration of a monthlong state of emergency, which Obama called on the interim government to lift.
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The violent clashes began Wednesday when riot police used bull dozers to clear two sit-in camps of protestors loyal to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Violence ensued in the camps and cities around the country. The Muslim Brotherhood called for a fresh round of protests Thursday. Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and vice president of the interim government, resigned in protest, saying he opposed the violent removal of the protestors.
Obama spoke broadly about the need for the Egyptian government to respect the rights of its people to assemble and protest peacefully. He stressed the need for reconciliation and said violence will only hurt Egypt’s path toward democracy and economic prosperity. “We want a peaceful, democratic, prosperous Egypt,” Obama said.
Obama also cautioned that the United States is not taking sides in the conflict and is not at fault for the violence over the past two days. “American cannot determine the future of Egypt,” he said.