WASHINGTON — The United States Wednesday rejected accusations that it was interfering in Egyptian affairs, after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments provoked an angry response from Cairo.
“We are going to speak out for the human rights of people around the world. We do not consider that interference,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
She was speaking after Cairo slammed foreign “interference” following Clinton’s condemnation of the stripping and beating of a female protester by Egyptian soldiers during protests on the city’s streets.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr said Cairo was seeking “clarifications over any statements by any foreign official regarding internal Egyptian matters.”
On Monday, Clinton accused Egypt’s new leaders of mistreating women both on the street and in politics since the uprising that overthrew then president Hosni Mubarak in February.
“This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonors the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform and is not worthy of a great people,” Clinton said in a speech at Georgetown University.
In images widely seen over YouTube, helmeted troops were shown beating a veiled woman after having ripped her clothes off to reveal her bra and stomach.
Nuland said: “We’re obviously going to speak out, as we have all along, whether it’s in Egypt or Tunisia or anywhere else around the world, in support of our values in terms of — and our interests.
“And obviously when you see the kind of horrific pictures that we saw coming out of Egypt a few days ago the secretary was not going to be quiet on this issue.”
Clinton had telephoned the new Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzuri on Tuesday to congratulate him on his nomination, Nuland said.
“We’ve been very clear with the Egyptian government privately and publicly at all levels that we expect Egyptian people to be able to exercise their right to protest peacefully,” she added.