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Kerry says 'too early' to judge Egypt path after Morsi

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said it was too early to judge yet the future course of Egypt following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi.

"Very clearly order needs to be restored to the streets, stability needs to be restored, violence needs to be ended, rights need to be protected ... and the country needs to be able to return to normal business," Kerry told a press conference in Amman.

"We are concerned about political arrests and we are concerned about the freedom of people to be able to participate because we think that's an important part of the restoration of the heart and soul of Egypt," Kerry said.

He added it was "much too early to make pronouncements or judge where it's going to go."

"The proof will be in the pudding," the top US diplomat added, reiterating that the Washington would continue to push for an inclusive government in Cairo.

On Monday Deputy Secretary William Burns was in Cairo, the most senior American official to visit Egypt since the July 3 coup which removed Morsi.

Burns urged Egypt's divided factions to engage in dialogue and end violence.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell later said violence which has rocked Egypt since Morsi's ouster made the transition "much more difficult," but he insisted Washington was not taking sides.

Washington has refrained from saying Morsi was the victim of a coup, which would legally require a freeze on some $1.5 billion in US military and economic assistance to Cairo.

Kerry again refused to say whether the United States believed that Morsi's ouster by the military was a coup.

"This is obviously an extremely complex and difficult situation," he said.

"The fact is we need to take the time necessary because of the complexity of the situation to evaluate what has taken place, to review all of our requirements under the law and to make it consistent with our policy objectives, as is appropriate.

"I'm not going to rush to judgement on it. I'm going to wait until our lawyers have done their homework on it," he told a joint press conference in Amman with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

But he said prior to Morsi's ouster there had been an "extraordinary situation in Egypt, of life and death, of the potential of civil war and enormous violence, and you now have a constitutional process proceeding forward very rapidly."

All of those facts had to be measured "against the law," he added.

He said that "at first blush" he looked at the line-up of the interim government and he knew that "they were extremely competent people."

He was speaking after meeting with Arab League ministers and officials at which the upheaval in Egypt was one of the main topics on the agenda.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130718/kerry-says-too-early-judge-egypt-path-after-morsi