Egyptian Ambassador: Violence Against Journalists 'Deplorable'

PHOTO Egypts Ambassador to the United States, Sameh Shoukry, appears on "This Week with Christiane Amanpour"PlayABC News
WATCH Interview With Amb Sameh Shoukry

The Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry strongly criticized recent attacks on journalists in Cairo in an interview with "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour.

"It's a deplorable situation, one that has been condemned by various officials in the Egyptian government. It's totally unacceptable," he said. "But unfortunately the political vacuum and the political situation, with many different segments and proponents of these demonstrations have caused a difficult security environment and I'm confident that this will not be recurring."

Amanpour asked him about reports that Vice President Suleiman, in his meeting with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, came to a consensus to start talking about lifting the perpetual Egyptian state of emergency.

"It will be a very significant move," Shoukry said. "It has been a longstanding demand of opposition and many segments of Egyptian society. To guarantee that all political activity is undertaken under confines of normal law and judiciary. It will be a significant step and indication of confidence that the political process is moving forward."

The emergency law allows agents of the government to arrest anyone without charge.

For the U.S., it has been a troubling aspect of Egypt's domestic policy. "The State of Emergency, in place almost continuously since 1967… [is] often used to target violent Islamic extremist groups," U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey wrote in a secret cable last year, obtained by WikiLeaks. But Egypt "has also used the Emergency Law to target political activity by the Muslim Brotherhood, writers, activists and others," the ambassador wrote.