US presses Egypt for swift return to civilian rule, against arbitrary arrests


President Obama met with his national security team on Egypt on the July 4th holiday, as US officials consulted with allies and pressed Egyptian officials for a swift transition back to civilian rule.

US officials “have been in touch with Egyptian officials and our regional partners to convey the importance of a quick and responsible return of full authority to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible,” the State Department said. They also pressed for “a transparent political process that is inclusive of all parties and groups; avoiding any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters; and the responsibility of all groups and parties to avoid violence.”

Secretary of State John Kerry discussed developments over the past two days with Egyptian opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Emirati Foreign Minister bin Zayed, the Norwegian Foreign Minister Kai Eide, and Qatari Foreign Minister al-Attiya, the State Department said Thursday.

Defense Secretary Hagel spoke with Egyptian army chief al-Sisi and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Bogie Ya'alon.

New US National Security Advisor Susan Rice spoke with her Israeli counterpart, National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror.

Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken spoke with Egyptian Deputy Minister of Defense Al-Assar.

(Photo: President Barack Obama meets with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House to discuss the situation in Egypt, July 4, 2013.. To Obama's right, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, DNI James Clapper, Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken, White House Counterterrorism advisor Lisa Monaco, NSC Senior Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa Philip Gordon; on wall, behind McDonough, UnderSecretary of Defense for Policy James Miller; the NSC's Brian Egan; behind Hagel, NSC spokesperson Bernadette Meehan. To Obama's left, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Attorney General Eric Holder, CIA Director John Brennan; Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns. Official White House photo by Pete Souza.)