Egypt's Morsi Gets 'Blunt' Call From Obama

Officials there seem to acknowledge they didn't respond well to violence
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 14, 2012 8:20 AM CDT
Egyptian protesters throw stones during clashes near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

(Newser) – President Obama delivered what the New York Times calls a "blunt" message to Egypt's Mohamed Morsi by phone, demanding that the nation better protect Americans there. It illustrates the new government's tight spot: Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are under fire from the Obama administration for their delayed condemnation of embassy attacks; but they also want citizens to know they understand anger over the anti-Islam video. "We are taking the heat from both sides," says a rep for the Brotherhood.

Morsi told Egyptians that it is the country's "religious duty to protect our guests and those who come to us from outside our nation," adding that "the people attacking the embassies do not represent any of us." Still, "we oppose anyone who offends our prophet with words, actions, expression." A spokesman summed up the message: "We told them we understand your anger, you are right to be angry and we share it—but let’s all express our anger in the right way and control it." Still, the way Egyptian officials were moving to mollify US concerns—via public announcements and such—amounts to a tacit acknowledgement that their initial response was too soft, the Times says.

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