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September 13th, 2012
08:02 AM ET

Amb. Burns: 'A time of testing' for U.S. after protests spread to Yemen, Iran

Across the Middle East protests have occurring in areas like Yemen and Egypt where demonstrators have been scaling embassy walls trying to gain access to interior parts of the compounds. The demonstrations come after a film produced in the United States depicting Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer was released online.

Fmr. U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns says the recent protests are “a time of testing” for the United States. “What we appear to be seeing in Egypt, in Libya and in Yemen are relatively moderate governments who are under some challenge for more conservative... reactionary forces in their own society.” Burns adds that the government forces in these areas are trying “to maintain their position, fend off conservative forces and unfortunately the United States has ended up in the middle of it.”

Some House conservatives are calling for foreign aid to be stripped from Libya and Egypt, while others are considering the message pulling aid might send to the region after the death of a U.S. Ambassador. Burns says, “The United States absolutely has reason to be outraged at what happened to our ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya….I actually think rather than to withdraw the aid right now, our focus should be on getting these Arab leaders to stand up, be accountable in their own societies and be responsible for law and order.”

Filed under: Egypt • Libya • Yemen
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