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UN says peaceful protest must go on in Egypt

Secretary-general spokesman says United Nations will not send delegates to Egypt following visits by European Union and African Union

Ahram Online, Friday 2 Aug 2013
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The United Nations (UN) said Thursday that peaceful protests in Egypt "should be allowed to go on," according to state news agency MENA.

"Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly need to be guaranteed," spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Martin Nesirky said.

The spokesman went on to assert that the UN does not plan to send a representative to meet with Egypt's toppled president Mohamed Morsi.

Missions of the European Union and African Union have visited Egypt this week and met with the country's deposed Islamist leader who has been in military detention at an undisclosed location since his ouster early in July.

"In this modern era, [you] don’t need to be present to make your point clear," Nesirky added.

The Secretary-General has done phone talks with "senior leaders within the transitional authority," as well as the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton so as to find a resolution for Egypt's political standoff, Nesirky said

Egypt's army-backed government on Thursday urged backers of Morsi to quit their month-old vigils, which it described as a "threat to the country's national security," promising a safe exit to them if they did not resort to violence. The country's cabinet has mandated the police to break up the sit-ins.

Pro-Morsi protesters, however, remained defiant on Thursday.

Thousands of the former president's Islamist backers have manned two sizeable protest camps outside a northern Cairo mosque and in a Giza square for more than a month to demand Morsi be reinstalled as president.

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