U.S. surprised by resignation of Egyptian government

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:21pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Monday it was surprised by the resignation of Egypt's government and would continue to push for a transition process that led to a democratically elected government in the country.

"This step was unexpected, so we are looking to obtain information on it," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a regular news briefing.

Egypt's government resigned earlier on Monday, paving the way for army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare his candidacy for president of the strategic U.S. ally.

"Our focus ... remains on pressing and encouraging Egypt to take steps forward that will advance an inclusive transition process that leads to a democratic civilian-led government selected through a credible and transparent elections process," Psaki said.

Washington is watching the situation closely and seeking details from Egyptian counterparts, she said.

In a live nationwide speech, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, who was tasked by interim President Adly Mansour to run the government's affairs until the election, did not give a clear reason for the decision.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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