The US had no role in overthrowing Egypt's Mubarak, says Obama

Menna Alaa El-Din, Saturday 19 Dec 2015

Obama describes as "mistaken" any notion that Washington was in a position to "pull the strings" in the largest country in the Arab world, Egypt

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the White House Brady Press Briefing Room in Washington, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015 (AP)

The US President Barack Obama said Friday that his country did not trigger the Arab Spring and played no role in deposing ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, insisting that it was "millions of Egyptians" who overthrew him following "dissatisfaction with the corruption and authoritarianism of the regime."

"The notion that somehow the US was in a position to pull the strings on a country that is the largest in the Arab world, I think is — is mistaken," Obama said during his year-end press conference, defending his country's policy on Egypt during the 2011 uprising.

Obama said that when the choice became either "mowing down millions of Egyptians" or trying to find a transition, his administration found it best to support a "peaceful transition" in the Egyptian political situation. 

The US president's statements come amid his attempt to respond to Republican Party critique of his foreign policy, refuting claims from Republican presidential candidates that US security wouldn't have been threatened had he not supported regime change in Egypt, Libya and Iraq, among others.

Relations between Cairo and Washington have been improving in recent months after of a period of tension following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Washington had temporarily withheld parts of its $1.3 billion military aid package for Egypt after Morsi's removal, citing concerns over the democratic process. Washington has since released most of the withheld aid.

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