World powers called on Thursday for a return to democracy in Egypt after the military ousted president Mohamed Morsi, but many took a pragmatic stance and stopped short of condemning the overthrow of the Islamist leader.
The West walked a tightrope between concern at the situation and the need to acknowledge the popular anger that led to huge protests against Morsi, while Syria and some other Arab nations rejoiced at his ouster.
US President Barack Obama and many leaders shied away from calling the events a coup while urging a quick return to elected civilian government in Egypt.
“We believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people,” Obama said in a statement after emergency talks with top aides.
“Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian armed forces to remove president Morsi and suspend the Egyptian constitution.”
UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged a return to civilian rule in Egypt. Europe was divided on how to react to the departure of a second Egyptian president.
Russia called on all Egyptian political forces to “exercise restraint” but again offered no condemnation.
Russia has long had friendly ties with Egypt and was guarded after the 2011 ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.
China, traditionally wary of intervention in the internal affairs of other nations, said it supported the “choice of the Egyptian people” and called for dialogue but did not elaborate.