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Egypt violence: US hardens its tone, but is criticized as too soft (+video)

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the crackdown by Egypt's military but announced no sanctions, leaving critics to suggest US policy toward a key Mideast partner is ineffectual.

Aftermath of Cairo crackdown
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The United States hardened its rhetoric toward Egypt’s rulers in the wake of Wednesday’s repressive violence, which left scores of Egyptians dead. But it stopped short of slapping the country’s military leaders with any practical sanctions – deepening the sense of a US policy toward a key Mideast partner that is both passive and incoherent.

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the Egyptian military’s crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi as “deplorable.” In a statement to reporters Wednesday afternoon, he said reaching a political solution to Egypt’s deteriorating crisis “has been made much, much harder, and much, much more complicated by the events of today.”

The US also “strongly opposes” the military leadership’s declaration of a “state of emergency,” Secretary Kerry said. He called on Egypt’s rulers to end the state of emergency “as soon as possible.”

Violence appeared to be spreading across Egypt after security forces stormed the Cairo camps of protesters led by Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. 

Kerry’s statement appeared in part to be an effort to correct an impression of US passivity left earlier in the day by a White House spokesman who said “the world is watching” events unfolding in Egypt. But State Department officials were at pains to explain why the military’s repressive violence, undertaken despite intense US diplomatic efforts last week to avoid such an outcome, did not result in any consequences.

The US annually provides $1.6 billion in assistance to Egypt, most of it in military aid.

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