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Violence is serious blow to peace efforts, US says

Secretary of State John Kerry said the violence in Egypt runs counter to Egyptians' aspirations for peace.

Evan Vucci/AP

Secretary of State John Kerry said the violence in Egypt runs counter to Egyptians' aspirations for peace.

NEW YORK — Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the Egyptian military’s crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protesters, saying that “the only sustainable path for either side is one toward a political solution.”

“I am convinced that that path is, in fact, still open,” Kerry said in a midday appearance at the State Department, although he said the bloodshed of the last 24 hours had made it far more difficult.

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“This is a pivotal moment for all Egyptians,” he said.

Kerry, who was speaking on behalf of a vacationing President Obama, did not disclose any specific American response to the crackdown and left without taking questions from reporters.

Earlier, the White House condemned the violence and said the United States “strongly opposed” the imposition of a state of emergency by the military-backed government.

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The top American military commander, General Martin E. Dempsey, told reporters in Jordan he had not yet spoken with his Egyptian counterparts.

Asked by reporters what he planned to say to Egyptian military leaders, Dempsey said, “It’s really the same message: The path forward for Egypt that will allow us to maintain our close military relationship and allow them to achieve their goals is the commitment to a road map, keeping violence levels as low as possible.”

“That’s a challenge of course,” he added.

Experts believe the scale of the crackdown on pro-Morsi demonstrators will put the White House’s strategy in Egypt to its sternest test yet.

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