WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – President Barack Obama issued a statement Wednesday evening regarding the decision made by the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove Islamist President Mohammed Morsi from power.
“The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people,” a statement posted to the official White House website states. “Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsi and suspend the Egyptian constitution.”
Egypt’s military announced Wednesday that Morsi will be replaced with the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court. Military officials also called for early presidential elections and suspended the Islamist-backed constitution.
Cheers erupted among millions of protesters nationwide who were demanding the removal of Morsi. Morsi supporters, on the other hand, shouted, “No to military rule!”
Morsi was in power for just one year before his removal, which was ultimately forced into motion by what the Islamist President referred to as a “full coup,” according to CBS News.
“During this uncertain period, we expect the military to ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts,” Obama said in his statement. “The voices of all those who have protested peacefully must be heard – including those who welcomed today’s developments, and those who have supported President Morsi.”
He added, “In the interim, I urge all sides to avoid violence and come together to ensure the lasting restoration of Egypt’s democracy.”
Due to the military nature of Morsi’s ouster, the United States will suspend aid to the embattled nation, CBS News additionally learned.
The country had been roiled by ongoing demonstrations between protesters trying to oust President Mohammed Morsi and Islamists seeking to keep him in power.
The U.S. State Department has warned Americans against all but essential travel, and households have been stocking up on goods in case the protests drag on.
Andrew Pochter, of Chevy Chase, Md., was killed Friday in Alexandria during clashes between government supporters and opponents. His family said in a statement Saturday that he was stabbed by a protester while observing the demonstrations. A U.S.-based international education and training organization said Wednesday that it had to evacuate 18 Arabic language program students from Egypt to Morocco due to deteriorating security conditions.
Rage in the streets as protesters stormed political offices in Egyptian cities unnerved American diplomats, still reeling from the attack last year on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans — including the ambassador. The Obama administration appeared eager to show it was leaving nothing to chance as Egypt braced for the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s taking power as the country’s first freely elected leader.
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