Kerry says Egyptian military has responsibility to prevent further violence

The Egyptian military currently has a unique responsibility to stop further violence and offer constructive options for an inclusive peace process, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

Kerry made the remarks during a press briefing in Washington after a day of violence and bloodshed throughout Egypt. He said the events represented a serious blow to the Egyptian people's hopes for a transition toward democracy.

"Today's events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion, and genuine democracy," Kerry said. "Egyptians inside and outside of the government need to take a step back. They need to calm the situation and avoid further loss of life. We also strongly oppose a return to a state of emergency law and we call on the government to respect basic human rights including freedom of peaceful assembly and due process under the law."

Kerry said the interim government and the military have the ability to prevent further violence and give construction options for a peaceful process. He said the interim government could amend the constitution and hold parliamentary and presidential elections. Kerry also said the only solution in the conflict is a political solution that brings people together.

"So this is a pivotal moment for all Egyptians," Kerry said. "The path towards violence leads only to greater instability, economic disaster, and suffering. The only sustainable path for either side is one towards a political solution."

Kerry said the future of Egypt will be shaped by the decisions made by Egypt's political leaders make in the days ahead. He said the U.S. is ready to work with all the parties and others around the world to achieve a peaceful, democratic path forward.