Obama reacts to American killed in Egypt, US ‘won’t take sides’

Andrew Pochter Kenyon College
Andrew Pochter
Photo Credit: Kenyon College/CBS News

President Obama offered his condolences to the family of the American college student stabbed to death Friday in Egypt, but said the U.S. will “not take sides” in the anti-government protests raging in Alexandria.

According to a statement from the family of Andrew Driscoll Pochter, 21, the young man was in Egypt  “to teach English to 7- and 8-year-old Egyptian children and to improve his Arabic…” and “was witnessing the protest as a bystander and was stabbed by a protester,” the NY Times reported.

June 30 marks the one-year anniversary of President Mohammed Morsi’s election, and protestors for and against Morsi have taken to the streets of Alexandria.

“Morsi’s opponents hope to force early presidential elections, citing a range of social and economic issues,” NBC News reported. “Morsi’s supporters have promised that they will also take to the streets to defend the Muslim Brotherhood-backed government.”

Pochter, one of three people killed Friday, was stabbed near the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood and “was taken to a nearby military hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after,” the Times reported Egyptian officials said.

Obama, speaking from South Africa on Saturday, commented on this news.

According to CBS News:

The president offered condolences and said the United States will not take sides in that democratic dispute on the streets of Alexandria and throughout Egypt, but he wants reconciliation to begin and talks to be carried out in a more peaceful manner.

The president said that the United States is invested in the democratic evolution of Egypt and very much troubled by this outbreak of violence.

He also said the top priority for the U.S. government is to protect all U.S. embassy and consulate facilities in Egypt.

Ironic, that.

A Friday tweet from Egyptian correspondent Nancy Youssef with McClatchy News showed an Obama administration, Benghazi-like callousness to the death of a young American.

Youssef reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Marc Sievers, for information on Pochter and was slammed for bothering him at a late hour.

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