Beltway Confidential

State Dept: Egypt attack doesn't necessarily reflect growing anti-American sentiment

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Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland cautioned reporters not to assume that the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today reflected growing anti-American sentiment among the Egyptian people.

In response to a reporter's comment that "it does seem as if there is a growing anti-American sentiment in Cairo," Nuland said, "I would urge you not to draw too many conclusions because we’ve also had some very positive developments in our relationship with Egypt."

Protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and tore down and desecrated the American flag, replacing it with a flag bearing the Islamic inscription, "There is no god but Allah."

Nuland pointed out that such protests are only possible because dictator Hosni Mubarak was thrown out of power. "So obviously, one of the things about the new Egypt is that protest is possible," she told reporters. "Obviously we all want to see peaceful protest, which is not what happened outside the U.S. mission, so we’re trying to restore calm now. But I think the bigger picture is one of the United States supporting Egypt’s democratic transition and the Egyptian Government very much welcoming and working with us on the support that we have to offer."

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