WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama is "deeply concerned" about violence in Egypt, the White House said Monday, calling for minority Copts to be protected and stressing the need for timely elections.
White House spokesman Jay Carney issued a statement after clashes in Cairo killed 25 people, mostly Coptic Christians and injured more than 300, sparking fears of widespread sectarian unrest.
"The president is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt that has led to a tragic loss of life among demonstrators and security forces," Carney said, expressing condolences to loved ones of the dead and injured.
"Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt.
"As the Egyptian people shape their future, the United States continues to believe that the rights of minorities -- including Copts -- must be respected, and that all people have the universal rights of peaceful protest and religious freedom."
Carney noted the call for an investigation by Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and called on all parties to refrain from violence.
"These tragic events should not stand in the way of timely elections and a continued transition to democracy that is peaceful, just and inclusive," Carney said.
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