WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Saturday reiterated that the U.S. is not aligned with and is not supporting any particular Egyptian political party or group and again condemned the ongoing violence across Egypt.
Obama made those points during a telephone conference with the National Security Council about developments in Egypt, according to a statement issued by the White House. He was spending the weekend at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.
"The United States categorically rejects the false claims propagated by some in Egypt that we are working with specific political parties or movements to dictate how Egypt's transition should proceed," the White House statement said. "We remain committed to the Egyptian people and their aspirations for democracy, economy opportunity and dignity. But the future path of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people."
The White House statement repeated key assertions Obama and other U.S. officials have made since the Egyptian military ousted the democratically elected president of Egypt, calling for an inclusive process allowing for all groups and parties to participate, urging all Egyptian leaders to condemn the use of force and to prevent further violence, and urging demonstrators to conduct themselves peacefully.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke again Saturday to Egypt's defense minister, emphasizing the need for a peaceful civilian transition in Egypt and noting "the importance of security for the Egyptian people, Egypt's neighbors and the region," the Defense Department said in a statement.
Hagel also spoke to Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday to discuss Egypt and "matters of mutual security concern in the Middle East," Pentagon press secretary George Little said in the statement.
Secretary of State John Kerry has been in touch hourly with the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne W. Patterson, and has spoken in the last two days to officials in the region, the State Department said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Kerry said the U.S. 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.
"The United States wants to see Egypt's ongoing transition succeed for the benefit of the Egyptian people," he added. "The Egyptians themselves must come together and make the tough decisions necessary for that to happen."