WASHINGTON - The United States is concerned about Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's decision to assume sweeping powers, the US State Department said on Friday.
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Morsi on Thursday issued a decree that puts his decisions above legal challenge until a new parliament is elected, causing angry protests by his opponents and violent clashes in central Cairo and other cities on Friday.
Morsi's aides said the decree was intended to speed up a protracted transition that has been hindered by legal obstacles, but rivals condemned Morsi as an autocratic "pharaoh" who wanted to impose his Islamist vision on Egypt.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Morsi in Cairo on Wednesday and thanked him for his mediation efforts to establish a ceasefire between Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement ruling the Gaza Strip.