White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement after clashes in Cairo killed 25 people, mostly Coptic Christians, and injured more than 300, sparking fears of widespread sectarian unrest.
"The president is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt that has led to a tragic loss of life among demonstrators and security forces," Carney spoke on behalf of the president and expressed condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured.
"Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt.
"As the Egyptian people shape their future, the United States continues to believe that the rights of minorities – including Copts – must be respected, and that all people have the universal rights of peaceful protest and religious freedom."
Carney noted the call for an investigation by Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and called on all parties to refrain from violence.
"These tragic events should not stand in the way of timely elections and a continued transition to democracy that is peaceful, just and inclusive," Carney said.