WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama this morning said that the U.S. is canceling a joint military exercise with Egypt next month, saying traditional U.S. cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets.
He made the announced in a statement in response to the security situation in Egypt, delivered from his vacation home in Chilmark, Mass.
He said, “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.
“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.
“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.” the president said.
“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 to the constitution and democratic elections of a parliament and a president.”