- Middle East/North Africa
The United States called on the Egyptian opposition Tuesday to maintain peaceful demonstrations after protesters massed at the presidential palace to demand the repeal of President Mohamed Morsy's constitutional declaration which signicantly expanded his powers.
“We would simply urge that protesters express their views peacefully, and that they be given the environment, if you will, to protest peacefully," US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said, in an oblique reference to the government and security forces.
Toner acknowledged that political tension has been building in the country, and stressed the need to grant people the opportunity to express their views on the new draft constitution, which will be put for a referendum on 15 December.
"In the coming days, it’s going to be important that they have an opportunity to express their views, as I said, peacefully, and ultimately that they’re able to express their views in a vote in a peaceful and secure environment," Toner said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also urged Egyptians on Wednesday to discuss their differences over the new constitution, saying there was an urgent need for dialogue in the country, Reuters reported.
"The upheaval we are seeing now once again in the streets of Cairo and other cities indicates that dialogue is urgently needed," Clinton told a news conference in Brussels.
"It needs to be a two-way dialogue, not one side talking at another side, but actual respectful exchanges of views and concerns among Egyptians themselves about the constitutional process and the substance of the constitution," Reuters quoted her as saying.