US diplomat praises Egyptian army for achieving people’s will

Cairo, July 16: Visiting US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns has praised the Egyptian army for responding to the will of the people, state-run al-Ahram Online reported.

Burns said this during a meeting with Egyptian Defence Minister Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi Monday, Xinhua said.

Burns said the US administration was keen to ensure a peaceful democratic transition of power with a clear roadmap in the form of elections.

On July 3, Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was deposed by the armed forces after massive nationwide protests called for his removal.

During the meeting, attended by a number of senior Egyptian military commanders and US ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson, Sisi affirmed that the army’s role was a “national” rather than a “political” one.

He said the poor performance of Morsi led the army to support the protesters.

Burns also met interim president Adli Mansour and discussed with him issues of mutual interest as well as means to further boost bilateral relations.

However, whether Washington views Morsi’s overthrow as a coup, a perception that would lead to a halt of US aid, was not clear, Xinhua said.

In a reaction to Morsi’s ouster, US President Barack Obama said he was “deeply concerned” by the military’s move. He later ordered the defense department to review US foreign assistance programme to Egypt, which is about $1.5 billion in aid every year.

Obama did not openly label the military procedures as “a coup”, but he called on Egypt’s army to transfer power to a civilian government as soon as possible, urging it to avoid arbitrary arrests of Morsi or his supporters.

In a statement, the US also called on the Egyptian military and interim leaders to release Morsi, who is reportedly under house arrest.

IANS