The Dictator and the Liberator
US President Barack Obama called the leaders of Egypt and Libya to discuss security cooperation following the violence that errupted in Cairo and Benghazi killing four embassoy officials, the White House said Thursday.
According to AFP, Obama urged Egypt to uphold its commitments to protect US diplomats and called on Libya to work with US authorities to bring those behind the deadly attack on the US consulate, which killed the US ambassador, to justice.
“The President called Egyptian President (Mohammad) Morsi today to review the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt,” the White House said, referring to a phone call late Wednesday.
“President Obama underscored the importance of Egypt following through on its commitment to cooperate with the United States in securing US diplomatic facilities and personnel.”
In an interview with Telemundo earlier Wednesday, Obama said the United States does not currently view Egypt as an ally or an enemy, but that if Cairo does not adequately protect the embassy it would be “a real big problem.”
Obama told Morsi he “rejects efforts to denigrate Islam, but underscored that there is never any justification for violence against innocents and acts that endanger American personnel and facilities.”
In their first conversation since Mohamed Al-Megaryef became Libya’s national assembly head last month, Obama thanked him for expressing condolences for the Americans killed in the consulate attack.
“He also expressed appreciation for the cooperation we have received from the Libyan government and people in responding to this outrageous attack, and said that the Libyan government must continue to work with us to assure the security of our personnel,” the White House said in a separate statement.
The United States had earlier dispatched navy destroyers and Marines to Libya in the aftermath of the rocket attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American diplomatic staff.
“Today many Americans are asking, indeed I asked myself, how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate and a city we saved from destruction?”
“It reflects just how complicated, indeed how confounding the world can be. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or the government of Libya,” she added.
Another US official, who spoke under condition of anonymity, revealed that the United States is deploying a US Marine anti-terrorism team to Libya to bolster security, without giving further details. As another source considered that the attack might have been a planned, pre-meditated assault, he told CNN that Al-Qaeda was involved.
“American surveillance drones are expected to join the hunt for jihadists who may be tied to the attack. The drones are expected to gather intelligence that will be turned over to Libyan officials for strikes,” the official said.