US doesn't criticize Egypt's draft constitution

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Associated Press

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 2:04 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is declining to criticize Egypt's draft constitution despite spirited internal debate over whether the document adequately protects women, religious minorities and dissenting voices.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland lamented the lack of consensus in Egypt's constitution-writing process. She says how people in Egypt view the draft is most important.

If Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi approves the constitution, it goes to a national referendum.

Nuland's restraint didn't reflect the views of all in the administration.

U.S. officials said there were internal debates over whether to criticize the draft constitution for limiting freedom of expression, failing to grant freedom of worship, criminalizing blasphemy and eroding women's rights guarantees.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about internal deliberations.

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