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603 words - July 11, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
Egyptian democratically-elected islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted on July 3 by massive protests against the Muslim Brotherhood, ranging from youth and liberal movements to the Salafists of the al-Nour party. The opposition accused President Morsi of betraying the 2011 revolution which culminated in the toppling of long-time President Hosni Mubarak. The fall of President Morsi took place at the initiative of Egypt's military which put him under arrest and has ordered the arrest of a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including their chief Mohamed Badie.
While serious incidents spread across the country, killing dozens, the West still hesitated about what is the next move to take and which side to choose. On July 10, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the United States does "oppose arbitrary arrests," but Mr. Carney remained vague about the United States' stance concerning the new leadership of Egypt, solely insisting on "the need for Egypt to get off a path of polarization and move forward on a path of reconciliation" – through a "democratic process." On July 11, several reporters asked the US Department of State about the alleged decision by the Obama administration "to continue to send weapons and assistance to Egypt," this way accrediting the idea that President Barack Obama and his national security team neither support nor oppose the post-Morsi authorities. Besides, Ambassador Dr. Badr Abdel Atty stated, the Egyptian authorities has "exerted intensive effort to contact American decision-makers, aiming to explain the ongoing developments and the priorities of the coming phase."
Saudi Arabia opted for a clearer stance. Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf announced a USD 5 billion aid package "to support the Egyptian economy to meet the challenges it currently faces," The Saudi government never allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to operate publicly and openly in the Kingdom, banning the publications of the movement's past and present leading figures like Sayyid Qutb and regarding the movement as an ideological competitor which could undermine Wahhabism's long-term interests at home and abroad. Similarly, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah expressed Kuwait's willingness to build "closer" bilateral relations with Egypt.
On the contrary, Turkey and many other Arab countries have been looking at the ongoing events very cautiously. Most of them consider Morsi's ouster was a military coup, and now fear that similar events could happen outside Egypt. "The recent political incidents in Egypt should encourage all parties to contribute to the purification of the political climate and the establishment of a serious national dialogue (in Tunisia)," said Al-Joumhouri party top official Ahmed Néjib Chebbi. "The difficulties and challenges with which (Arab Spring countries) are confronted are indeed of great magnitude as recent developments in Egypt have shown," agreed Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council. Qatar expressed "deep concern over incidents" in Egypt and called on all the parties "to exercise self-restraint at this critical stage of Egypt's history."
On July 5, the African Union (AU) suspended Egypt's membership of the AU following a meeting of the Peace and Security Council. "The African Union will not tolerate unconstitutional (overthrow) of government of any form from any of its member states and this will remain our principle," Ambassador Aisha Abdullahi, the African Union's Political Affairs Commissioner said, triggering a diplomatic incident between Egypt and Tunisia, the former accusing the latter of having "interfered with AU decision." In Cairo, the Turkish Ambassador was summoned after Turkey asked the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and regional bodies to intervene in what Cairo described as "Egypt's purely internal developments."
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