The State Department is denying reports that the U.S. is calling on embattled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to schedule early elections.
"The reports that we have been urging early elections are inaccurate," State spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at her briefing on Tuesday.
She said the U.S. has called for Egypt to allow protests and to respect democracy, both publicly and in private, but that the U.S. had not called for early elections.
“We are saying to him, 'Figure out a way to go for new elections,'” a senior official told CNN. “That may be the only way that this confrontation can be resolved.”
CNN reported that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt and other State Department officials have made it clear that the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid hangs in the balance after the Egyptian army on Monday gave Morsi and his opponents 48 hours to reach a political agreement.
The administration is also calling on Morsi to appoint a new prime minister, a new Cabinet and a new prosecutor general, CNN reported.
Obama called Morsi Tuesday morning after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest Egypt's weak economy and the Muslim Brotherhood government's authoritarian bent.
In a readout of the call, the White House said Obama urged Morsi to be “responsive” to protesters' demands. The president appeared to be shifting away from Morsi a day after telling reporters in Africa that U.S. policy wouldn't be dictated by “the number of heads in a protest march.”
The military, which took power for 16 months after Hosni Mubarak was deposed in 2011, denies that its ultimatum amounted to a coup threat.
"The aim of the Armed Forces' statement is to push all political parties nationwide to quickly find solutions for the current crisis and reach a formula of national compromise that complies with the demands of the Egyptian people," the military said in an English language Facebook post.
—This story was posted at 11:22 a.m. and updated at 2:12 p.m.
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