President Obama Urges Embrace of Democracy as Hundreds Killed in Egypt

U.S. president tells Egyptians they "deserve better" as military cracks down on pro-Morsi supporters
7:04 | 08/15/13

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Transcript for President Obama Urges Embrace of Democracy as Hundreds Killed in Egypt
This is a special report from ABC news. Hello I'm tired and is in New York with his ABC news digital special report. President Obama has condemned the Egyptian military's deadly crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Canceling this year's planned joint training exercises. And urging leaders to end this new round of emergency rule the civilian deaths total in Cairo now at more than 500 people. Here's the president who spoke earlier today on Egypt's future. America cannot determine the future -- -- -- test with the Egyptian people. We don't take sides -- any particular party or political figure. I know it's tempting inside of Egypt to blame the United States or the west or some other outside actor. For what's gone wrong. We've been blamed by supporters of -- -- We've been blamed. By the other side it -- we are supporters of Morse. That kind of approach will do nothing to help egyptians. -- the future -- deserve. We want Egypt to succeed. We want -- peaceful democratic. -- procedure that's our interest. But to achieve that egyptians. Are gonna have to do the war. With more now we're joined by ABC news senior national correspondent Jim envelope from Martha's Vineyard where the president is on a working vacation. -- The condemnation from the president is not new but the decision to cancel the joint military exercise is. It's not likely to have any real effect on the situation in Egypt. -- what the president has done here is kind of threaded the needle his attempt to do. Use that sort of middle part of the whole range of reactions the United States could have. You could either cut off at the very top of the range cut off all aid to Egypt one point three billion dollars in military aid each year. Or he could do nothing what's what he's done so far as he stopped the sale of some F sixteens to each of and now. He's also made a decision to stop the military exercises that did go on by annually. With the -- to show our support of the the Egyptian government. So by cutting that -- he's -- he's not supporting what they're doing now. Now many people believe that's not strong enough because obviously the Egyptian military's pretty busy domestically right now could be that even -- carried on any kind of military exercises. Is it is an open question. But the president. Made it clear that he is threading the needle here that he has to be careful because Egypt is such a strong partner is such an important ally. That if you cut off military aid to them than what else can you do. That leaves you -- -- more right now because of that leverage -- is likely listening still to the United States although not reacting to it. But if we take away all the military aid the Obama Obama administration would argue the name Obama administration would have no influence. -- now I mean obviously the egyptians are well aware that there is a heavy price to pay on both sides. If the US cut off that aides any word from the administration whether they will continue to upped the ante. Administration will only say that the reviewing constantly the decision to keep. Putting aid into the into Egypt. That they reviewing that decision they could pull the eight at any time. That they're trying to still use that threat. With the the Defense Secretary and secretary of state. In daily calls with the egyptians with the president delivering this message today they're trying to use that leverage in trying to. Urge the military government to pull back to stop the violence to proceed with -- democracy. And they believe that if they totally pull it right now that -- lose any leverage they actually. It would seem to be a staggering loss the Egyptian military as well -- mean I'm we're assuming one point three billion dollars is quite sizable number. For the varying -- military that the US is upset with right now. Short what it would be it would be a strong signal but would also the administration would argue that it would also. Close their ears that they would be so angry so bothered enough not have anything else to lose really. That they would not listen at all to the United States -- I think. I think what's happening here is that the president is trying to deliver a series of messages starting with the stoppage of the sale of F -- -- Egyptian military now he's stopping the exercises in view Egyptian military. These are signals in a graduated way that the United States is not please in the violence must stop. Clearly it's not working at the administration is not happy that it's not working and trying to up the ante just a bit but not go overboard and lose all in for. Jim in the past few weeks everyone from secretary of state John Kerry to senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have lobbied for peaceful resolution to these protesters as we heard the president do today they -- Obviously ignored what does this mean for the relationship between Egypt and the United States in the long term. As the president said that democracy is not something that happens overnight what the United States is hoping for. Is for democracy to return to Egypt. If it does return to Egypt and certainly the United States the relationship of Egypt will get better. But right now it's it it is -- -- that is -- -- -- a good situation. The United States is not being listened to there is a there -- martial law this curfew at seven at night until 7 in the morning there's violence in the streets the united the Egyptian government using their own military against their own people that those -- not stand with the values of the United States in the United States is not going to prove that so. There's not a good relationship going on. Right now and it will take quite a bit of action by the egyptians. Change. By the egyptians a decision by the Egyptian military to step back. Hold elections again. And start another democracy. That before the United States gets on board. Jim it's pretty clear the administration is very strongly focused on this issue any speculation as to whether the president -- head back to the White House sooner than expected. -- that doesn't seem to be in the cards at this point he has been. Part of that part of that diplomacy is to continue. It is for the president to continue. Looking as though. He is in fact continuing with -- his normal schedule. As normal schedules to have this vacations that scheduled to return until Sunday. There's been no talk of him returning early and he's like four rounds of golf so far all indications are irreplaceable. All right NBC's -- not alone with the president. On Martha's Vineyard thank you so much. And we can have all the latest in the situation in Egypt and the American response found at abcnews.com. -- Hernandez in New York this has been an ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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