WASHINGTON (AFP) – On Monday, the U.S. called for “maximum restraint” from Egypt’s military and condemned the Muslim Brotherhood’s calls for an uprising after some 50 people were shot dead at a demonstration.
The White House also said there would be no immediate cutoff in aid to Egypt following the military’s ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader.
“We remain deeply concerned about the increasing violence across Egypt. We strongly condemn any violence or any incitement to violence,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
She said Washington expresses “our condolences for those who have been killed” and calls on the military “to use maximum restraint.”
“Egypt’s stability and democratic political order are at stake,” she said, calling on the Muslim Brotherhood to “engage in the process” of forming a stable government.
White House spokesman Jay Carney meanwhile condemned what he said were “explicit calls to violence by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
He said Washington had not yet determined whether the military’s ouster of Morsi last week was a coup, as the Brotherhood claims, or part of a popular revolt against a failed government, as supporters insist.
The U.S. provides Egypt, a key Middle East ally, with some $1.5 billion a year in mostly military aid which could be suspended if it determines that the military has overthrown an elected government.
Carney said it would “not be in our best interests” to immediately cut off aid, adding that it would take time to consider the continuation of funding over the long term.
His remarks implied that the United States might try to use the aid to ensure the military keeps its promise of a swift handover to a civilian government.
Egypt has been plunged in crisis since millions took to the streets last week to demand the ouster of Morsi, leading to a military intervention to remove him from the presidency.
Fifty-one Morsi supporters were gunned down early Monday while demonstrating against the military’s intervention, leading the Muslim Brotherhood’s party to call for an “uprising by the great people of Egypt against those trying to steal their revolution with tanks.”