US messaging mess in Egypt complicates diplomacy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration’s efforts to promote democracy in Egypt are being complicated by what many Egyptians see as mixed messages from Washington, exacerbating anti-American sentiment and threatening broader U.S. goals in the region.

Any administration might find it difficult to navigate Egypt’s current political tumult, but some U.S. officials concede they have been unable to communicate a coherent policy. Officials also complain that their task has been made more challenging by the delicate line they must toe and by Sen. John McCain’s recent statements calling the July 3 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian military a coup.

The Obama administration has decided not to make a legal determination about whether the ouster was a coup, because that would trigger a cutoff of U.S. aid.

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