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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement of Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Egypt's Renewal of State of Emergency

“The United States is disappointed by the Egyptian government’s decision to extend the State of Emergency which has been in effect continuously since 1981.  We call on the Egyptian government to fulfill its pledge to the Egyptian people to replace the Emergency Law with a counterterrorism law that protects the civil liberties and dignity of Egyptian citizens. 

The United States recognizes that Egypt has committed to applying a revised Emergency Law that would limit its use to counterterrorism and counter-narcotics cases.  Unfortunately, even this revised Emergency Law gives the government extraordinary powers to restrict the rights of Egyptian citizens.  As President Obama has said, the United States has an unyielding belief that all people yearn for the right to gather and speak freely and to choose their own leaders.  These are universal values -- and that is why we will support them everywhere. 

We urge Egypt to complete its promised counterterrorism legislation on an urgent basis and repeal the State of Emergency.  The United States understands the challenges that terrorism poses to free societies but believes that effective counterterrorism measures can be based on legal principles that protect the rights of all citizens.  Egypt has the legal and judicial expertise necessary to draft and to adopt counterterrorism legislation that conforms to international standards for civil liberties and due process. We believe Egypt missed an opportunity today to signal its embrace of these universal values to the rest of the world, and we again urge the Egyptian government to move quickly to fulfill the previous promises it has made to its citizens.  We remain committed to a strong U.S.-Egyptian partnership that includes dialogue on all issues of concern to the peoples of both countries.”