News

Obama condemns violence in Egypt, cancels military exercises

Obama condemns violence in Egypt, cancels military exercises

President Obama condemned the bloody crackdown in Egypt, and cancelled joint military exercises. Photo: Associated Press

CHILMARK, Massachusetts (Reuters) – President Barack Obama condemned the bloody crackdown in Egypt on Thursday, announcing that joint military exercises next month were canceled and that normal U.S. cooperation could not continue with the country while civilians were being killed.

“The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt’s interim government and security forces,” Obama said on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard where he is on vacation.

“We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest,” he said. At least 525 people have been killed and thousands wounded.

Obama said the United States had informed Egyptian authorities it had canceled a joint military drill named “Bright Star” that had been scheduled for next month.

The drill, dating back to 1981, is seen as a cornerstone of U.S.-Egyptian military relations and began after the Camp David Peace Accords between Egypt and Israel.

“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” Obama said.

“The Egyptian people deserve better than what we’ve seen over the last several days. And to the Egyptian people, let me say: the cycle of violence and escalation needs to stop.”

The joint military exercise, held every two years, was canceled in 2011 because of the political turmoil in Egypt following the ouster of longtime autocrat and U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak.

On Thursday hundreds of supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood stormed a government building in Cairo and set it ablaze, as fury over a security crackdown on the Islamist movement that killed hundreds of people spilled on to the streets.

Obama said the state of emergency should be lifted in Egypt and a process of national reconciliation started. He noted that the United States did not take sides with any political party in the conflict.

Recent Headlines

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

AP564917773040_12

A look at some of the biggest plays and best photos in sports this week.

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

playball

A look at some of this weekend's biggest sporting events.

in Music

Ozzy Osbourne to undergo surgery

British musicians Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath, arrives at the Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards 2013 at the Camden Roundhouse in north London, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.

Ozzy Osbourne has cancelled his upcoming Ozzfiesta event in Mexico to undergo surgery.

in Entertainment

Angelina Jolie crowned world’s top feminist icon

Angelina Jolie arrives at the 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson top the list of the world's foremost feminist icons.

in Entertainment, National

Celebrities protest new Indiana law

George Takei poses for a portrait at Quaker Good Energy Lodge with GenArt and the Collective , during the Sundance Film Festival, on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah.

Celebrities call for an Indiana boycott after the passing of a controversial law that could lead to discrimination against gay couples.