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US State Department expresses concern about the Human Rights Watch report on Rabaa massacre

The US State Department expressed concerns about the “the mass killings in Egypt during the months of July and August 2013” as reported in the Human Rights Watch report published on Tuesday.

The deputy spokeswoman for the State Department, Marie Harff, said in a press briefing yesterday, “We have seen the report. I believe it was just released this morning, and we’re currently reviewing it. Our initial reaction is that the report’s findings are very disturbing… and don’t have any additional recommendations to make at this time.”

She pointed out that “At the time of the violence last year, which was around this time last year, President Obama strongly condemned the steps taken by the Egyptian Government and security forces, and deplored the violence against civilians. It was at this time that we decided to hold delivery of several weapon systems.”

She continued: “t’s troubling that one year later, no security forces have been held accountable in events that resulted in the deaths of approximately a thousand Egyptians.”

Harff went on to say, “as we’ve said many, many times, in order for Egypt to achieve long-term stability, security, economic prosperity, it must investigate these events in a fully transparent and credible manner, one that’s grounded in impartial application of the rule of law, and to hold people accountable.”

On the Egyptian authorities rejection of the report claiming it was “politically motivated, and lacks professionalism and objectivity,” Harff said, “Well, I don’t think that you needed any anonymous sources to see what happened in the streets of Egypt last August. We saw it; President Obama talked about it. Approximately a thousand Egyptians died because of it. So we’re reviewing the report. We’ve made our position on this very clear.”

In conclusion, Harff said, “I don’t have any more details about what the investigation should look like, other than we believe all of these situations that have occurred there should be fully investigated”.

Commenting on the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to Russia, the spokeswoman said that “Egypt is free to have relationships with whoever it wants”.

The American official said, “We have a relationship with Egypt that’s based on unique capabilities we bring to bear, certainly in the security side, but also on the economic reform side as well. So we believe we have a strong and strategic relationship, and don’t have much more analysis beyond that.”

The Human Rights Watch published on Tuesday a report on what it called “the mass killings in Egypt during the months of July and August 2013,” in which it reported that the Egyptian security forces actions “resulted in one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in recent history” during its dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in of supporters of President Mohamed Morsi on August 14 last year. Meanwhile the Egyptian government considered the report to be “politically motivated and aimed to overthrow the state.”

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