Obama Treads Cautiously on Egypt Leader's Ouster

President Obama said in a statement that the U.S. is deeply concerned "by the decision of the Egyptian armed forces to remove President Morsi and suspend the Egyptian constitution." 

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Egyptian protesters carry anti-Obama posters in Tahrir Square in Cairo. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Obama administration is treading carefully since Egypt's military has overthrown the country's president, avoiding taking sides in a conflict that pits a democratically elected leader against people fighting for an inclusive government, the Associated Press reports.

Denounce the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi outright, and the U.S. could be accused of propping up a ruler who's lost the public's support -- a prospect with eerie echoes of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, whom the U.S. supported for decades before the 2011 revolution that cleared the path to power for Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. But look the other way, and the U.S. could be accused of fomenting dissent or lose credibility on its commitment to the democratic process.

So President Barack Obama, in his first, cautiously crafted comments after Morsi was forcibly removed from office, said the U.S. would "not support particular individuals or political parties," acknowledging the "legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people" while also observing that Morsi, an Islamist, won his office in a legitimate election.

"We believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people," Obama said in a statement late Wednesday. "Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian armed forces to remove President Morsi and suspend the Egyptian constitution."

Read more at the Associated Press.

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