White House welcomes Sisi election, presses Egypt over rights

Egyptian man holds up a portrait of ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he celebrates in Cairo's Tahrir Square on June 3, 2014 after Sisi won 96.9 percent of votes in the country's presidential election. AFP Photo

The United States said on Wednesday it looked forward to working with former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as Egypt's president but expressed concerns about the "restrictive political environment" in which he was elected.
Sisi won 97 percent in the presidential election last week, the election commission said on Tuesday, confirming interim results that had given him a landslide victory.
A White House statement reiterated U.S. concerns about limits on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression and pressed the government to ensure such rights were given to all Egyptians.
The United States was pleased that international observers were allowed to participate, it said.
"As Egypt looks toward parliamentary elections later this year, we urge the government to consider the recommendations of the observer groups on ways to improve the administration of future elections," it said.
"We urge the President-elect and the government to adopt the reforms that are needed to govern with accountability and transparency, ensure justice for every individual, and demonstrate a commitment to the protection of the universal rights of all Egyptians."
The election took place against the background of a crackdown against supporters of Mohamed Mursi, Egypt's first freely elected president who was deposed by the army last July, that  has seen his Muslim Brotherhood outlawed, hundreds killed and thousands arrested.
The United States, which has counted on Egypt as a close Middle East ally for decades, suspended some aid to the country after Mursi's overthrow.
President Barack Obama, who is traveling in Poland as part of a four-day European trip, planned to speak...

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