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UN leader calls for peaceful dialogue in Egypt

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, 'deeply concerned' by Egypt's political stalemate appeals to the people to avoid provocations

AFP, Saturday 10 Aug 2013
Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Photo: Reuters)
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday appealed to Egyptians to avoid provocations and favor dialogue amid heightening tensions between supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and the interim government.

Ban said he is "deeply concerned" by the political stalemate in Egypt, in a statement released by his spokesman on the occasion of the holiday marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Ban "applauds the deep courage and commitment of the Egyptian people" towards peaceful change since mass protests began in January 2011.

"Yet in light of current tensions and given the risk of potential violence, the secretary-general also believes it is of critical importance that all sides in Egypt -- those in positions of authority as well as those protesting in the street -- should urgently reconsider their current actions and language," the statement read.

Defiant Morsi supporters rallied in their thousands across Egypt on Friday, sparking clashes that left dozens injured, as interim premier Hazem el-Beblawi suggested that a crackdown on their protest camps was imminent.

Ban "urges Egyptians to set aside or avoid actions and words likely to be perceived by others as provocative. Instead they should try to look creatively at new approaches toward a genuinely inclusive political process that would be rooted in reconciliation."

Ban's "immediate concern is for the leaders of Egypt, on all sides, to exercise their leadership and their responsibility to do whatever can be done to prevent further loss of life among the Egyptian people," the statement read.

The UN leader said he was confident "that the Egyptian people, representing one of the world's great and historic civilizations, will successfully find a way forward."

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