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Egypt urges U.S. restraint over Missouri unrest

Law enforcement officers watch on during a protest on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri on August 18, 2014.AFP PHOTO / Michael B. Thomas

CAIRO: Egypt Tuesday urged U.S. authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with racially charged demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri – echoing language Washington used to caution Egypt as it cracked down on Islamist protesters last year.

U.S. foes Iran and Syria also lambasted the United States, but while they are frequent critics of Washington, it is unusual for Egypt to criticize such a major donor. It was not immediately clear why Egypt would issue such a statement.

Ties between the U.S. and Cairo were strained after Egyptian forces killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters following the army’s ousting of freely elected President Mohammad Morsi in July 2013.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s statement on the unrest in Ferguson read similarly to one issued by U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration in July 2013, when the White House “urged security forces to exercise maximum restraint and caution” in dealing with demonstrations by Morsi supporters.

The ministry added it was “closely following the escalation of protests” in Ferguson, unleashed by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman on Aug. 9.

In a second day of Twitter messages about the disturbances in Ferguson, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized the U.S. as “egotistical and unreliable.”

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Takht Ravanchi Monday accused Washington of “racist behavior and oppression,” Fars News Agency said.

In Syria, another U.S. adversary, a bulletin from state news agency SANA accused police in Ferguson of “racist and oppressive practices.”

Pro-government media in Turkey, where the authorities came under U.S. criticism for a heavy-handed clampdown on weeks of protests around Istanbul’s Gezi Park last year, also took a swipe.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 20, 2014, on page 11.

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Summary

Egypt Tuesday urged U.S. authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with racially charged demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri – echoing language Washington used to caution Egypt as it cracked down on Islamist protesters last year.

U.S. foes Iran and Syria also lambasted the United States, but while they are frequent critics of Washington, it is unusual for Egypt to criticize such a major donor.

In a second day of Twitter messages about the disturbances in Ferguson, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized the U.S. as "egotistical and unreliable".


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