PARIS, July 08, 2013 (AFP)
PARIS, July 08, 2013 (AFP)
The United States and the European Union on Monday condemned violence in Egypt and called for utmost restraint after the killing of dozens of supporters of the ousted Islamist president.
Washington called for Egypt’s military, which last week removed president Mohamed Morsi, to exercise “maximum restraint” after more than 50 of his loyalists were killed.
The Muslim Brotherhood, to which Morsi belongs, called for an “uprising” following the killings.
“We remain deeply concerned about the increasing violence across Egypt. We strongly condemn any violence or any incitement to violence,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
“Egypt’s stability and democratic political order are at stake,” she said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney meanwhile condemned what he said were “explicit calls to violence by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
He said Washington had not yet determined whether the military’s ouster of Morsi last week was a coup, as the Brotherhood claims, or part of a popular revolt against a failed government, as supporters insist.
The United States provides Egypt, a key Middle East ally, with some $1.5 billion a year in mostly military aid which could be suspended if it determines that the military has overthrown an elected government.
Carney said it would “not be in our best interests” to immediately cut off aid, adding that it would take time to consider the continuation of funding over the long term.
His remarks implied that the United States might try to use the aid to ensure the military keeps its promise of a swift handover to a civilian government.
In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton warned all sides against “provocation or escalation” after the Islamists’ call for an uprising.
“All those who claim legitimacy must act in a responsible way for the good of the country and avoid any provocation or escalation of violence.”
Ashton “reiterates in the strongest possible terms her call for utmost restraint and an immediate end to the violence,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier, Ashton spokesman Michael Mann said that the 28-nation bloc was keeping the billions of euros it has pledged to Egypt “under constant review” although he emphasised there was “no plan to change our aid regime”.
“We are doing all that we can through talking to everyone on the ground to make sure everyone understands the need for peace to be maintained,” said Mann.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he “strongly” condemned what he termed a “massacre”, expressing his country’s “solidarity with the Egyptian people”.
He called for a “normalisation” of the situation in Egypt, saying it was “the hope for the rising calls for democracy in the Middle East”.
Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers also described the killings as a “massacre” and expressed their “profound pain and sadness over the victims”.
In its statement, Hamas also called for “an end to the bloodshed among the Egyptian people”.
Qatar, a key backer of the Muslim Brotherhood, said it “strongly condemns such unfortunate acts that take away innocent lives”.
The emirate urged “self-restraint” and “national unity” as it urged “dialogue to preserve security, safety, and stability” in Egypt, according to a foreign ministry spokesman.
The spokesman also urged Egyptian authorities to “protect peaceful protesters and their right to express their opinions and positions”.
Meanwhile, prominent Egyptian liberal leader and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei “strongly condemned” the killings, stressing “violence begets violence” and asking for an independent probe.
Germany also called for an independent investigation and urged all forces “to act with moderation and to renounce violence in all forms”.
“There is grave concern that there could be a further escalation of violence in Egypt,” the foreign ministry in Berlin said in a statement. And France called for “restraint” and national unity.
“France condemns the outbreak of violence these past days, wherever it comes from,” foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said, urging Egyptians to say no to any escalation of tensions.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stressed the “importance of a democratic transition that respects human rights and pluralism (and) includes all political forces” as well as the right to demonstrate peacefully, in talks Monday afternoon with his Egyptian counterpart Kamel Amr, it added.
While not commenting directly on the recent violence, Iran slammed as “unacceptable and disturbing” the intervention of the army in political affairs.
“It cannot be denied that foreign hands are at work here,” said foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi, adding: “The polarisation of Egyptian society is dangerous.”