Egypt’s military unsure when it will relinquish power, U.S. says

The New York Times reports:

Not even Egypt’s interim military rulers know when they plan to relinquish power to a new civilian government, the United States ambassador to Egypt, Anne W. Patterson, said Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference here with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta after he met with the Egyptian military leaders, Ms. Patterson offered an unusually candid assessment of the haze over Egypt’s path toward democracy after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak eight months ago.

Asked if American officials knew whether the Egyptian military council intended to turn over power at the seating of a newly elected Parliament in March, or the planned adoption of a new constitution later in 2012, or the election of a president some months beyond that, Ms. Patterson said, “I don’t think, frankly, the military knows or anyone else knows.”

“This process has really been fraught with uncertainty from the very beginning and decisions are often made on a day-to-day basis, so I would expect that to continue for a while,” she added.

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