White House urges Egypt’s military to yield power

The New York Times reports: The White House on Friday threw its weight behind Egypt’s resurgent protest movement, urging for the first time the handover of power by the interim military rulers in the Obama administration’s most public effort yet to steer the course of the Egyptian democracy.

“The United States strongly believes that the new Egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately,” the White House said in a statement.

“Most importantly, we believe that the full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible.”

The White House released the statement as tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into Tahrir Square for what is expected to be the biggest display of anger in a week of protests against the military’s intention to retain power even after parliamentary elections that are scheduled to begin on Monday.

The statement is a significant escalation of the international pressure on the generals because the United States is among the Egyptian military’s closest allies and biggest benefactors, contributing more than $1.3 billion a year in aid.

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