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Egypt’s presidency says Obama’s remarks encourage violence

Published: Updated:

Egypt’s presidency said on Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks on Egypt are not based on “facts” and will strengthen and encourage violent groups.

Egypt is facing “acts of terrorism that target government institutions and vital facilities, including tens of churches, courts and police stations and public and private institutions,” the presidency added in a statement.

“Groups of armed violence targeted the loss of lives and the features of the Egyptian civilization, including libraries, museums and public gardens,” the presidency said.

“The presidency fears that statements not based on facts will strengthen and groups of armed violence and encourage them in their anti-democratic and stability path,” the statement added.

Obama had cancelled joint military exercises with the Egyptian military, saying Egypt is on a “more dangerous path.”

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

“We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest,” Obama said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, meanwhile, said he made it clear to his Egyptian counterpart Abdelfatah al-Sisi that “the violence and inadequate steps towards reconciliation are putting important elements of our longstanding defense cooperation at risk.”

“Since the recent crisis began, the United States has made it clear that the Egyptian government must refrain from violence, respect freedom of assembly, and move toward an inclusive political transition. Recent developments, including the violence that has resulted in hundreds of deaths across the country, have undermined those principles,” said Hagel.