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John Kerry staying in touch with Mideast leaders, U.S. officials say

July 06, 2013|By Christi Parsons
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement to the media on Tuesday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement to the media on Tuesday. (Jacquelyn Martin, Associated…)

WASHINGTON -- President Obama met his top national security aides Saturday, officials said, as Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who may be in line to be  named interim prime minister of Egypt, plus the foreign ministers of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region, in an effort to end the  violence in Egypt.

U.S. officials said Kerry was in regular contact with U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson to keep close tabs on the security of the U.S. Embassy, which was closed last week as vast crowds of protesters swarmed through Cairo.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke separately to the Egyptian defense minister three times over the last two days, as well as other top military officials in the region, the Pentagon said.

Members of the Cabinet don't normally reveal who they call each day, but the administration is taking special care to spell out their activities after news photos showed Kerry aboard his boat off Nantucket on Wednesday, when Egypt's military deposed the president, Mohamed Morsi. Critics said the White House was taking a passive role.

Since Morsi's ouster, the White House has emphasized the need for a peaceful return to civilian rule in Egypt.

"We remain committed to the Egyptian people and their aspirations for democracy, economy opportunity, and dignity," the White House said in a statement. "But the future path of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people."

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