November 30, 2010

State Department Silent on Egypt

The U.S. reaction to Egypt's suspect parliamentary election is even weaker than we anticipated. Full briefing:

QUESTION: (Inaudible) election real quick? I know you issued a statement. You talked about the elections Cote d’Ivoire and Moldova and so on, but you didn’t address the Egyptian election today.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we did put out a statement yesterday.

QUESTION: Yeah, you issued a statement. My question to you is: How do you address these transgressions? I mean, you expressed your concern. There were a lot of, obviously, abuse of power, whatever you want to call it. How do you address these issues with a friendly government such as the Egyptian Government? What is your next step?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I would only say – first of all, what’s important here is the relationship between the Egyptian Government and its own people. The people of Egypt want to see broader participation in their political process. It is up to the Egyptian Government to meet the needs and meet the desires of the Egyptian people. We will, as part of our ongoing dialogue with Egypt, continue, where we feel appropriate, to express our concerns about these kind of developments. We have recently in the discussion between Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, and we will continue to raise our concerns where appropriate.

QUESTION: Will the United States leverage any of the aid that it gives to Egypt, for instance, so it will forgo its veto over the actions of civil society – the Government of Egypt?

MR. CROWLEY: (Inaudible) you’re – we have a commitment to a partnership with Egypt. These are not either/or circumstances. Our relationship with Egypt is multifaceted. But as you saw with yesterday’s statement, we will not hesitate to tell Egypt as a friend where we think their actions have fallen short of international standards.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: But the initial result shows that almost oppositions lost all seats or hardly made any, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Do you worry that them not being represented in the government, that might lead them now to become underground or go to more violent path?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, we had a detailed statement that described our concerns about the election. We’ll continue to raise these concerns with the Government of Egypt.

QUESTION: Why did it take so long to get that statement out, 9 o’clock last night, and you were working on it like all – I mean was there --

MR. CROWLEY: I hear you.

QUESTION: Are you concerned that Muslim Brotherhoods lost elections?

QUESTION: I just said that.

MR. CROWLEY: Try again?

QUESTION: Are you concerned that --

MR. CROWLEY: I just answered that question.

QUESTION: Sorry. I didn’t hear.

QUESTION: Can you confirm the meeting in Washington next week between Japan and South Korea?

MR. CROWLEY: Stay tuned. We’ll have more to say about that probably tomorrow.

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