U.S. backs away from call to end Egypt emergency now
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday backed away from Washington's call last week for Egypt's emergency law to be lifted immediately, saying the timing was up to the Egyptians.
Asked how soon she wanted the law to be scrapped, Clinton told Al Jazeera in an interview: "I am not going to substitute my judgment, sitting here in the very beautiful comfort of the State Department, for what is going on in Egypt right now."
On Tuesday, the White House said U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had told then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that the United States supported Egypt "immediately rescinding the emergency law."
The law, in place for decades, allows the authorities to detain Egyptians indefinitely without charge and is especially despised by many of the protesters whose mass demonstrations forced Mubarak to step down on Friday.
Asked what she would advise the military council that is now ruling Egypt to do about the law, Clinton noted the United States had long called for its removal and told Al Jazeera: "It's not for me to counsel them. This is an Egyptian process that must be directed and defined by the Egyptian people."
(Editing by John Whitesides)
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