US 'deeply concerned' about Egypt decree, Pentagon says

By REUTERS
June 18, 2012 19:47

 
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WASHINGTON - The United States is "deeply concerned" about a constitutional decree issued by the Egyptian military but expects the armed services to transfer full power to an elected civilian government as previously promised, the Pentagon said on Monday.

"We believe Egypt's transition must continue and that Egypt is made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in the first US government reaction to events in Egypt over the weekend.

The results of Egypt's weekend presidential election were in limbo as vote counting continued, but the candidate of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsy, claimed victory in the country's first free presidential election.

As the polls closed on Sunday, the ruling military council led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi issued a decree saying it would retain legislative powers until a new parliament is elected and would decide all military matters until a new constitution is written.

Little said he did not believe US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who had spoken to Tantawi on Friday, had been told about the military council's plan to announce the decree amending the interim constitution.

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