State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told Matt Lee of the Associated Press Wednesday that the U.S. policy in Egypt has had some “significant bumps in the road”:
Q: Right, OK.
Now, just more broadly, do the events of today give you any pause or any reason to reconsider — go back, or re-evaluate what your policy has been in Egypt, or what your lack of policy has been in Egypt since July 3rd, since Morsi’s ouster on July 3rd?
And the reason I ask this is that at the White — or up in Martha’s Vineyard this morning, your colleague kept saying over and over again that it was in America’s national interest not to make the decision, you know, not to determine whether it was a coup.
And I’m just wondering if you believe that the things — the events that have occurred since July 3rd are in American national interests?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I did see my colleague’s comments, and I believe what he was speaking to is the broad point that we’ve consistently made about the importance of our national security interests and regional stability interests, to continuing to provide aid to Egypt.
Of course, that review and our review of aid and our broad relationship is ongoing, And we’ve said that from the beginning. It wasn’t the end of the review. That will be evaluated. The world, as you heard the secretary say, is watching Egypt, and the situation, of course, is ongoing and remain fluid, and — remains fluid. And obviously, the events today, looking at the events today and the events of the last couple of weeks, we’ll continue to not only monitor and be engaged, but we’ll review the implications for our broader relationship with Egypt, which includes aid.
Q: But I guess what I’m getting at is if your policy was aimed at advancing American national interests, can you identify one or any interests that has been — that have been advanced any — for — since July 3rd? I mean, I’m presuming that murder or killing protesters in the streets is not in U.S. national interests or in the interests of regional security, the declaration of a state of emergency is not in national — U.S. national interest, that the resignation of the civilian vice president is not in your national interest.
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt –
Q: So is there any interest that you can point to that has been advanced by this policy that you pursued?
MS. PSAKI: It’s not about — our view isn’t — it’s not about responding to one day. We’re talking about our larger strategic interest, our national security interest in the region, the role that Egypt plays. Certainly, there have been some significant bumps in the road. But our focus is on getting back to a sustainable path to democracy. And that’s what we’re — what we’re working on every single day.
Q: So you would argue that your policy has served — so far has served national security — U.S. national security interests and the interests of regional security?
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, are you — you’re talking about our aid to Egypt?
Q: No, I’m talking about your policy towards Egypt in general — not just the money, the approach that you have taken since President Morsi’s ouster. Do you believe that that has promoted or advanced either U.S. national interests or the interests of regional security?
MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously Egypt is going through a challenging time right now. What our focus is on, what Deputy Secretary Burns’ focus was on when he was in the region, what the secretary’s focus is on in every call he’s making is how to return to a sustainable path to democracy, how to end the bloodshed.
So we evaluate our relationship every single day and what that means.
Q: I understand that, but you can’t — you’re not answering my question. Do you believe that your policy has advanced U.S. national interests or the interests of regional security? Yes? No? And if the answer is yes, what interests have been advanced or promoted?
MS. PSAKI: I am — we don’t look at it through that prism. We’re looking at our longer-term interest here, Matt, and returning Egypt to a sustainable democracy, returning — ending the bloodshed is in — certainly in our national security interest and certainly in the regional — the interest of the region.
Q: But has — but can you say that — can you say that your policy in this short period since the 3rd has done anything to restore or bring about the restoration of democracy, as the secretary himself noted 10 days ago or so? Is there — is there anything that you can point to to show that Egypt is going in the right direction, that your policy has promoted or advanced movement in the right direction?
MS. PSAKI: Well, our policy — it’s up to the Egyptian people to move the process forward. So our policy has been to call for an end to violence, to encourage all sides to participate in the process. We can –
Q: OK. Which — that hasn’t happened. There’s continuing violence, and all sides are not participating.
MS. PSAKI: Matt, we’re — but we’re continuing to do it. This issue is too important –