WASHINGTON, Aug 14: The United States on Wednesday rejected Egypt’s decision to impose a state of emergency in the country and urged the interim government to take steps to restore democracy.

The White House said that US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry were talking to their Egyptian counterparts but did not disclose the contents of their discussions.

The Wednesday raid in Egypt on the supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi has left at least 149 dead. Vice President Mohammed ElBaradei, who is considered a US ally, has resigned in protest.

“The violence will only make it more difficult to move Egypt forward on a path to lasting stability and democracy and runs directly counter to the pledges of the interim government to pursue reconciliation,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a briefing.

Mr Earnest said the United States had consistently urged the Egyptian military “to show restraint” and respect the rights of its people, including those in the protest camps.

“We also strongly oppose a return to a state-of-emergency law and call on the government to respect basic human rights such as freedom of peaceful assembly and due process under the law,” he said. “The world is watching what is happening in Cairo. We urge the government of Egypt and all parties in Egypt to refrain from violence and resolve their differences peacefully.”

The Obama administration, however, has refused to declare Mr Morsi’s ouster a military coup because such a declaration will force it to suspend $1.2 billion of annual aid to Egypt. “We are continuing to review our posture and our assistance to the Egyptians,” Mr Earnest said.

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