Obama condemns developments in Egypt, cancels military drills

Washington, Aug 15 (IANS) US President Barack Obama Thursday "strongly condemned" the steps taken by Egyptian interim government and security forces, and announced the cancellation of joint military exercises.

The move came as Obama's first response to a violent crackdown on protesters in the Arab country.

"Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed," reported Xinhua citing Obama said in an audio message broadcast to the nation from Martha's Vineyard in the US East Coast state of Massachusetts, where he is on vacation with his family.

The Egyptian security forces moved Wednesday to clear two camps in Cairo, the national capital of Egypt, which were occupied by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi demanding his reinstatement, resulting in deadly clashes across the country with at least 525 deaths and 3,717 injuries reported by the health ministry.

Hours after the raids on the camps in Cairo, Egypt's interim government declared a state of emergency nationwide for one month, imposing a curfew on Cairo and 10 provinces and allowing security forces to arrest and detain civilians indefinitely without charges.

Obama's cancellation of the Bright Star joint military exercise with Egypt, a biennial event due to take place in the Sinai region next month followed Washington's halted delivery last month of four F-16 fighters to Cairo to show its displeasure with the military's handling of the situation.

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