Senator McCain: Morsi removal a coup

Senator McCain: Morsi removal a coup
Wed Aug 7, 2013 10:42:46

US Senator John McCain has admitted that the military-led ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was a coup.

"We have said we share the democratic aspirations and criticism of the Morsi government that led millions of Egyptians into the streets," McCain said at the end of a brief visit to the Egyptian capital, Cairo on Tuesday.

"We've also said that the circumstances of [Morsi's] removal was a coup. This was a transition of power not by the ballot box."

The Republican senator’s remarks contradict US official position on the recent Egyptian crisis. He is the first US official describing the ousting as a military coup.

McCain, accompanied by Senator Lindsey Graham, is on a mission that was endorsed by President Barack Obama.

US officials have so far avoided using the term “coup” to characterize the overthrow of Morsi’s government on July 3, because US law would then require cutting aid to Egypt.

The United States provides $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt, the second largest recipient, after Israel, of US foreign assistance since World War II.

In his remarks, McCain also warned that the situation in the African country is getting dangerous, urging officials of the interim government to release political prisoners if they want to resolve the political stalemate sparked by Morsi’s ouster.

The visit was aimed at strengthening relations between the US and Egypt's new leaders. It was also aimed at pressing for reconciliation between the interim government and the Morsi’s party Muslim Brotherhood, which demands Morsi's reinstatement, according to the British newspaper.


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