WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says the U.S. would not consider Egypt an ally, "but we don't consider them an enemy."
Obama said in an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo that Egypt is a "new government that is trying to find its way." He warns that if the Egyptian government takes actions showing "they're not taking responsibility," then it would "be a real big problem."
The president discussed the Middle East Wednesday in the aftermath of protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that led to crowds climbing the embassy walls and tearing down an American flag. It coincided with attacks on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi that led to the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
The White House said that Obama called the presidents of Libya and Egypt and urged them to continue working with the United States to ensure the safety of diplomatic personnel.
Obama thanked Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf for his condolences over the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other State Department officers during an assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi Tuesday. The White House says the two leaders agreed to work together to bring the attackers to justice.
During a second call Tuesday, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi promised that Egypt "would honor its obligation to ensure the safety of American personnel," the White House said.
Obama told Morsi that while "he rejects efforts to denigrate Islam ... there is never any justification for violence against innocents."