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  • The President: Good morning, everybody.

  • I just finished a discussion with my national security team

  • about the situation in Egypt, and I wanted to provide an

  • update about our response to the events of the last several days.

  • Let me begin by stepping back for a moment.

  • The relationship between the United States and Egypt

  • goes back decades.

  • It's rooted in our respect of Egypt as a nation,

  • an ancient center of civilization,

  • and a cornerstone for peace in the Middle East.

  • It's also rooted in our ties to the Egyptian people,

  • forged through a longstanding partnership.

  • Just over two years ago, America was inspired by the Egyptian

  • people's desire for change as millions of Egyptians took to

  • the streets to defend their dignity and demand a government

  • that was responsive to their aspirations for political

  • freedom and economic opportunity.

  • And we said at the time that change would not come quickly or

  • easily, but we did align ourselves with a set of

  • principles: nonviolence, a respect for universal rights,

  • and a process for political and economic reform.

  • In doing so, we were guided by values but also by interests,

  • because we believe nations are more stable and more successful

  • when they're guided by those principles as well.

  • And that's why we're so concerned by recent events.

  • We appreciate the complexity of the situation.

  • While Mohamed Morsi was elected President in a democratic

  • election, his government was not inclusive and did not respect

  • the views of all Egyptians.

  • We know that many Egyptians, millions of Egyptians,

  • perhaps even a majority of Egyptians were calling

  • for a change in course.

  • And while we do not believe that force is the way to resolve

  • political differences, after the military's intervention several

  • weeks ago, there remained a chance for reconciliation

  • and an opportunity to pursue a democratic path.

  • Instead, we've seen a more dangerous path taken through

  • arbitrary arrests, a broad crackdown on Mr. Morsi's

  • associations and supporters, and now tragically the violence

  • that's taken the lives of hundreds of people

  • and wounded thousands more.

  • The United States strongly condemns the steps that have

  • been taken by Egypt's interim government and security forces.

  • We deplore violence against civilians.

  • We support universal rights essential to human dignity,

  • including the right to peaceful protest.

  • We oppose the pursuit of martial law,

  • which denies those rights to citizens under the principle

  • that security trumps individual freedom,

  • or that might makes right.

  • And today the United States extends its condolences to the

  • families of those who were killed

  • and those who were wounded.

  • And given the depths of our partnership with Egypt,

  • our national security interests in this pivotal part of the

  • world and our belief that engagement can support

  • a transition back to a democratically elected

  • civilian government, we've sustained our commitment

  • to Egypt and its people.

  • But while we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt,

  • our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when

  • civilians are being killed in the streets and rights

  • are being rolled back.

  • As a result, this morning we notified the Egyptian government

  • that we are canceling our biannual joint military exercise

  • which was scheduled for next month.

  • Going forward I've asked my national security team to assess

  • the implications of the actions taken by the interim government

  • and further steps that we may take as necessary

  • with respect to the U.S.-Egyptian relationship.

  • Let me say that the Egyptian people deserve better

  • than what we've seen over the last several days.

  • And to the Egyptian people, let me say the cycle of violence

  • and escalation needs to stop.

  • We call on the Egyptian authorities to respect the

  • universal rights of the people.

  • We call on those who are protesting to do so peacefully

  • and condemn the attacks that we've seen by protesters,

  • including on churches.

  • We believe that the state of emergency should be lifted,

  • that a process of national reconciliation should begin,

  • that all parties need to have a voice in Egypt's future,

  • that the rights of women and religious minorities should be

  • respected, and that commitments must be kept to pursue

  • transparent reforms of the constitution and democratic

  • elections of a parliament and a President.

  • Pursuing that path with help Egypt meet the democratic

  • aspirations of its people while attracting the investment,

  • tourism and international support that can help it deliver

  • opportunities to its citizens.

  • Violence, on the other hand, will only feed the cycle of

  • polarization that isolates Egyptians from one another

  • and from the world, and that continues

  • to hamper the opportunity for Egypt to get back

  • on the path of economic growth.

  • Let me make one final point.

  • America cannot determine the future of Egypt.

  • That's a task for the Egyptian people.

  • We don't take sides with any particular party

  • or political figure.

  • I know it's tempting inside of Egypt to blame the United States

  • or the West or some other outside actor

  • for what's gone wrong.

  • We've been blamed by supporters of Morsi.

  • We've been blamed by the other side,

  • as if we are supporters of Morsi.

  • That kind of approach will do nothing to help Egyptians

  • achieve the future that they deserve.

  • We want Egypt to succeed.

  • We want a peaceful, democratic, prosperous Egypt.

  • That's our interest.

  • But to achieve that,

  • the Egyptians are going to have to do the work.

  • We recognize that change takes time,

  • and that a process like this is never guaranteed.

  • There are examples in recent history of countries that are

  • transitioned out of a military government towards a democratic

  • government, and it did not always go in a straight line,

  • and the process was not always smooth.

  • There are going to be false starts.

  • There will be difficult days.

  • America's democratic journey took us through some mighty

  • struggles to perfect our union.

  • From Asia to the Americas, we know that democratic transitions

  • are measured not in months or even years,

  • but sometimes in generations.

  • So in the spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect,

  • I want to be clear that America wants to be a partner

  • in the Egyptian people's pursuit of a better future,

  • and we are guided by our national interest in this

  • longstanding relationship.

  • But our partnership must also advance the principles that

  • we believe in and that so many Egyptians have sacrificed for

  • these last several years --

  • no matter what party or faction they belong to.

  • So America will work with all those in Egypt and around

  • the world who support a future of stability that rests

  • on a foundation of justice and peace and dignity.

  • Thank you very much.

The President: Good morning, everybody.

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Remarks by the President on Egypt

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/08/16
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