"The United States strongly condemns today's violence and bloodshed across Egypt. It's a serious blow to reconciliation and the Egyptian's people's hopes for a transition towards democracy and inclusion," Kerry said on Wednesday.

Nearly 278 people were killed on Wednesday when Egyptian security forces, backed by bulldozers and armoured vehicles, stormed two huge protest camps occupied by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, prompting the government to impose emergency to quell the raging violence.

"Today's events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion, and genuine democracy," Kerry said adding that Egyptians inside and outside of the government need to take a step back.

Amidst unfolding developments in Egypt, Kerry spoke to his counterparts in Egypt, Qatar, Turkey and UAE. "They need to calm the situation and avoid further loss of life. We also strongly oppose a return to a state of emergency law and we call on the government to respect basic human rights including freedom of peaceful assembly and due process under the law. And we believe that the state of emergency should end as soon as possible,” he said.

Asserting that violence is simply not a solution in Egypt or anywhere else, Kerry said violence will not create a roadmap for Egypt's future.

"Violence only impedes the transition to an inclusive civilian government, a government chosen in free and fair elections that governs democratically, consistent with the goals of the Egyptian revolution," he said.

Kerry said the interim government and military of Egypt have a unique responsibility to prevent further violence and to offer constructive options for an inclusive, peaceful process across the entire political spectrum. "This includes amending the constitution, holding Parliamentary and Presidential elections, which the interim government itself has called for," he said.

Kerry said the promise of the 2011 revolution has simply never been fully realised, and the final outcome of that revolution is not yet decided. "It will be shaped in the hours ahead, in the days ahead. It will be shaped by the decisions which all of Egypt's political leaders make now and in these days ahead," he said.

"The world is closely watching Egypt and is deeply concerned about the events that we have witnessed today. The United States remains at the ready to work with all of the parties and with our partners and with others around the world in order to help achieve a peaceful, democratic way forward," he said.

Kerry had previously praised the role of the military and said it was trying to restore democracy by ousting the democratically elected Morsi.

(Agencies)

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