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US wary about 'unclear' situation in Egypt

Published on Nov 28, 2012 5:58 AM
Protesters shout slogans as they march to join the tens of thousands people taking part in a mass rally against a decree by President Mohamed Morsi granting himself broad powers on November 27, 2012 at Egypt's landmark Tahir Square in Cairo. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States is closely following the drama unfolding in Egypt and seeking clarity as thousands protested in Cairo against a power grab by President Mohamed Morsi, US officials said Tuesday.

The situation was evolving, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said, appearing to downplay fears that Islamist Morsi, elected after long-time leader Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011, was morphing into an autocrat.

"The situation remains unclear," she told journalists, adding "we are continuing to consult with various parties to understand how they appreciate the situation." Washington wanted however to see an end to "the constitutional impasse... which protects a positive, democratic trajectory for this constitution, protects balances of power, protects a voice for all Egyptians."

Egyptian protesters are angry at a decree unveiled by Dr Morsi last week allowing him to "issue any decision or law that is final and not subject to appeal." The decree put him on a collision course with the judiciary and consolidated the long-divided opposition which accuses him of taking on dictatorial powers. It also raises concerns that the Islamists will be further ensconced in power.

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