WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he was praying for peace in Egypt after overnight violence in Cairo that left six people dead.
“We pray that the violence in Egypt will end and that the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realized and that a better day will dawn over Egypt and throughout the world,” Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast.
At least six people were killed during overnight fighting in Cairo between anti-government protesters and those loyal to President Hosni Mubarak, whose offer to quit power in September has been rejected by an opposition that wants him out now.
The United States, a huge donor to long-time ally Egypt, has urged Mubarak to immediately begin an orderly transfer of power and strongly condemned the latest violence, which protesters claim is being instigated by the Mubarak.
The White House has said U.S. assistance to Egypt, which includes $1.3 billion to the military this year, could be reviewed if its security forces escalate violence.
Republican Senator John McCain, who met with Democrat Obama at the White House on Wednesday, said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he supports using all levers of U.S. influence with Mubarak.
Asked if the Obama administration should be ready to suspend aid to Egypt to pressure Mubarak to leave, he said: “I think that we have to obviously have all the options at hand.”
“Obviously, you don’t want to threaten something unless you’re fully prepared to take that action,” McCain added.
Reporting by David Morgan and Alister Bull; Editing by Vicki Allen