U.S. not interfering in Egyptian transition, ambassador says
July 7th, 2013
11:50 AM ET
10 years ago

U.S. not interfering in Egyptian transition, ambassador says

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration has not voiced support for any particular person to head Egypt's next government, the country's top envoy to the United States said Sunday, amid conflicting reports that an opposition leader would be installed as prime minister this weekend.

Mohamed Tawfik, the Egyptian ambassador to the U.S., told CNN that the Obama administration had "absolutely not" indicated it would back any candidate, including Mohamed ElBaradei, who is expected to be named prime minister.

"Right now there are discussions in Egypt about choosing a prime minister. This is something for the Egyptians themselves to decide," Tawfik said, when asked if U.S. officials had indicated their support for ElBaradei. "The important thing is for this process to be inclusive and for there to be a general agreement on whoever will be named as prime minister."

The White House said Saturday that the Obama administration "is not aligned with, and does not support, any particular Egyptian political party or group."

"In line with that position, 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 said in a statement after President Barack Obama met with his national security team.

ElBaradei is well known to U.S. and international officials. Before returning to his country and running for the presidency against Mohamed Morsy – who was ousted by military leaders Wednesday after a year in office – ElBaradei led the United Nations' atomic energy watchdog. Upon his return to Egypt in 2011, he was held under house arrest by the government of Hosni Mubarak and later quit the presidential race, saying it was not democratic enough.

His political party announced Saturday that he was named to the post of prime minister, but later a government spokesman said the negotiations were "ongoing" and a government would be named Sunday.

The more secular ElBaradei emerged as a leader of the opposition to Morsy's government but is not supported by every opposition faction, including the more conservative sects.

Tawfik has maintained that Morsy's removal was not a coup, but a reflection of popular will, and has urged a "national reconciliation" process.

The Obama administration has also avoided describing it as a coup and called for an end to violence and a "transition to sustainable democracy."

Tawfik said he was in "ongoing conversations both with the administration and Congress, and it's important to keep these lines of communications open. "It's important to explain what's happening. People can easily get confused, but again, the most important thing is to look to the future."

One issue he can be expected to discuss is the billions in military aid the U.S. has given Egypt in recent years.

Some elected officials have said the U.S. should suspend that aid, citing a federal law disallowing aid in most cases following a coup.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Friday the U.S. should do so because the "Egyptian military has overturned the vote of the people of Egypt."

But Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the U.S. should continue to provide financial support to the Egyptian military, which he called the "one stabilizing force in Egypt that I think can temper down the political feuding that you're seeing going on now."

Filed under: 2013 • Egypt
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. army vet

    im glad to see, at least on the surface, that the obama administration is not picking sides this time. they don't have a very good track record.

    July 7, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    The people of Egypt should decide if they want our financial support, and if they do, hen we should consider providing that suppprt, whether it is simply to aid the military in maintaining the peace, or for other needs.

    What we should not do, is back any Islamic demands, as to do so, would be backing dictatorship through religion.

    July 7, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. rla

    The leading from behind thing must be seeping down to the minions!

    July 7, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Oh you rascal McCain, Wanting even more war. As for overturning the will of the people, the repubs have done that for years.

    July 7, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. NameFrank Deery

    Obama wasted no time supporting a known
    radical Islamist, Morsi, who tried to force Sharia Law on way too diverse a population.

    Egyptians, even under past leaders, have had more freedom to travel and to schooling abroad. So, of course, they would rebel
    against 6th Century Idealogy. All they have to do-freely-is watch nearby Iran.

    Obama's recent statements hint at withholding the aid Egypt needs, and that is
    why many of the anti-Morsi groups are anti-US, but I think, aside from Obama, a lousey
    president, most Americans are on their side.

    Radical Islam is the Nazism of 2013! Our own President, who "fundraises" and travels more than Leading, should see that. And ditch His 70's Hippie legacy and selective
    Mideast policies-based on oil. Egypt has no real oil reserves, like Syria. Libya did.

    July 7, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. meena

    Please don't interfere, we can solve our problems. you supported the muslim brotherhood before and the country went in a downward spiral. as long as you don't back up the muslim brotherhood again we are fine without help.

    July 7, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. ST

    Anyone who is thinking right, should handle the situation in Egypt with care. They are at a very delicate point, that if one is not extra careful can dismantle everything. I thought McCain knows it better. The aid the government gives to them is for self interest. With the war in Syria and the struggle of peacemaking in Israel, US can not afford to see another major problem falling to their hands in the middle East.

    July 7, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Ron L

    I find it AMAZING the number of Americans who feel the United States should interfere with the evolution of other countries governments!! You want to know why so many people of Middle Eastern descent have a dislike for America?? Because we continue to meddle in their affairs!! If for some reason our government was to go through some type of Constitutional crisis, would we want them to assert themselves into OUR conflict??? NO...we would want and expect them to observe not interfere!! To0 many of us are too FULL of ourselves.

    July 7, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Ron L

    We need to let them settle their own business!!!

    July 7, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. PaulCat

    Good. U.S. need to deal with their own problems. Such as the war on women rights.
    2014 – Democrats, all the way or more of the same with these crazy republicans.

    July 7, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Don Stanley

    Are these two connected? Wrong choice=no aid perhaps?

    The White House said Saturday that the Obama administration "is not aligned with, and does not support, any particular Egyptian political party or group."


    One issue he can be expected to discuss is the billions in military aid the U.S. has given Egypt in recent years.

    July 7, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    President Obama has never supported the MB. we give aid to the Egyptians now the same as we have given during the past 60 years. Look it up.

    July 7, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |