Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement Saturday after at least 65 people were killed and over 1,000 were injured in Egypt during clashes between security forces, armed men, and protesters demonstrating against the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi.
Kerry said he spoke with Egypt's Interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei and Interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy Saturday morning to express "our deep concern about the bloodshed." He also described the situation as a "pivotal moment for Egypt" and called for an "independent and impartial inquiry into the events of the last day."
Read Kerry's full statement below:
"I spoke this morning with Interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, Interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton and expressed our deep concern about the bloodshed and violence in Cairo and Alexandria over the past 24 hours that has claimed the lives of scores of Egyptian demonstrators and injured more than 1,000 people.
I want to convey our deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives as well as those who were injured.
This is a pivotal moment for Egypt.
Over two years ago, a revolution began. Its final verdict is not yet decided, but it will be forever impacted by what happens right now.
In this extremely volatile environment, Egyptian authorities have a moral and legal obligation to respect the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Both are essential components of the inclusive democratic process they have publicly embraced.
Violence not only further sets back the process of reconciliation and democratization in Egypt, but it will negatively impact regional stability.
At this critical juncture, it is essential that the security forces and the interim government respect the right of peaceful protest, including the ongoing sit-in demonstrations.
The United States urges an independent and impartial inquiry into the events of the last day, and calls on all of Egypt’s leaders across the political spectrum to act immediately to help their country take a step back from the brink.
An inclusive political process is needed that achieves as soon as possible a freely and fairly elected government committed to pluralism and tolerance.
The Egyptians who poured into Tahrir Square in 2011 and 2013 themselves called for this outcome for their country’s future and for their aspirations.
A meaningful political dialogue, for which interim government officials have themselves called, requires participants who represent all the political parts of Egyptian society.
To enable such a dialogue, the United States reiterates our call for an end to politicized detentions and the release of political leaders consistent with the law."