State Department: Morsi’s Power Grab Raises “Concerns”

U.S. displeased, but keeps from applying too much pressure on Egyptian president.

Maya Alleruzzo, File / AP

WASHINGTON — The State Department said Friday that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s power-grab “concerns” the international community, but kept from applying too much pressure on the new leader.

In a statement sent to reporters a day after Morsi granted himself far-reaching powers, including immunity from judicial oversight, the State Department called for a new constitution with robust checks and balances. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood allies have called his measures a temporary stop-gap until a new constitution is in place.

The State Department release takes care not to call Morsi out by name, after U.S. officials elevated Morsi by having him negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza earlier this week. He earned repeated praise from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for his role in ending the fighting.

The full State Department statement is below:

The decisions and declarations announced on November 22 raise concerns for many Egyptians and for the international community. One of the aspirations of the revolution was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution. The current constitutional vacuum in Egypt can only be resolved by the adoption of a constitution that includes checks and balances, and respects fundamental freedoms, individual rights, and the rule of law consistent with Egypt’s international commitments. We call for calm and encourage all parties to work together and call for all Egyptians to resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue.

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