Obama On Egypt Crisis: 'We Deplore Violence Against Civilians'

08/15/2013 10:36 am ET | Updated Aug 15, 2013
  • AP/The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama spoke out on the crisis in Egypt on Thursday, saying he's "concerned" by recent events.

"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government and security forces," Obama said. "We deplore violence against civilians."

"Today, the United States extends its condolences to the families of those who were killed and those who were wounded," Obama continued.

Obama announced that the U.S. is cancelling a bi-annual joint military exercise with Egypt that was to take place in September, but he did not announce suspension of any other forms of aid to Egypt. The president said “national security interests in this part of the world and the belief that our engagement can support a transition back to democracy” influenced his decision to keep up U.S. aid to Egypt that adds up to about $1.3 billion a year.

"The Egyptian people deserve better than what we've seen over the last several days," Obama said.

Click here for more on the clash in Egypt.

Below, more from the AP on Obama's remarks:

CHILMARK, Mass. — President Barack Obama has scrapped joint U.S.-Egypt military exercises scheduled for next month, saying American cooperation with the Egyptian government cannot continue when civilians are being killed in the streets. He directed his national security team to see what additional steps the U.S. might take going forward.

It was Obama's first statement on the rapidly deteriorating situation in Egypt, where spiraling violence has left more than 500 people dead in clashes between the military-backed interim government and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. The violence prompted the Egyptian government to declare a nationwide state of emergency and a nighttime curfew.

Obama spoke from Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, where he is on vacation.

The Bright Star military exercise has been a centerpiece of the two countries' military relations for decades.

This story has been updated with additional information from the AP.

Also on HuffPost:

Egypt Protests Morsi's First Year

CONVERSATIONS