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Most world states condemn Egypt's violence
While many world capitals Thursday expressed deep concern over violence in Egypt that saw hundreds killed, some came out in support of police and army efforts to 'restore order'
Ahram Online , Thursday 15 Aug 2013
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A bulldozer clears the site of a protest camp around the Rabaa Adawiya mosque in Cairo August 15, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Reactions among world states have differed on the political situation in Egypt one day after a deadly crackdown on supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

Hundreds were killed in violence in the capital and around the country in the wake of police moves to clear two sit-ins staged by Islamist protesters in Rabaa Al-Adawiya in Nasr City, Cairo, and at Al-Nahda Square in Giza.

The Arab League

The Arab League expressed its understanding for the measures taken by the Egyptian government to "encounter the absence of security and take its responsibility in preserving the internal stability."

Offering its condolences to the families of those killed in Wednesday’s nationwide violence, the pan-Arab organisation emphasised solidarity with Egypt at such "critical period" and readiness to introduce full support to the country.

Europe

Britain has summoned Egypt's ambassador to express its "deep concern" at the violence in the country and urged the authorities to act with "the greatest restraint", the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

"Yesterday we called in the Egyptian ambassador to express our deep concern at the escalating violence and unrest in Egypt," a spokesman said.

French President Francois Hollande has summoned the Egyptian ambassador to France for a meeting Thursday, sources at the presidency told AFP.

On Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called for "an immediate halt" to the violence and urged the United Nations and its partners to take a joint stand.

Germany on Thursday also summoned the Egyptian ambassador over the deadly crackdown on protest camps of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

"On the orders of Foreign Minister (Guido) Westerwelle, the ambassador was told the position of the German government in no uncertain terms," she told AFP.

"We call on all political forces to return immediately to negotiations and avert an escalation of violence," he told reporters. "All further bloodshed must be prevented."

Westerwelle called on all sides to "return to a political process that includes all political forces."

He also urged Germans to respect fresh travel warnings from his ministry, in particular to avoid public protests.

"We urge the interim government and the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and at the same time we expect from the other forces that they distance themselves from violence, do not call for violence and do not use violence," he said.

Adopting deeper measures, Denmark announced the suspension of development aid to Egypt.

"Denmark has two projects in direct collaboration with the Egyptian government and public institutions, and they are now going to be suspended," Christian Friis Bach, Denmark's development aid minister, told Berlingske newspaper.

"It is in response to the bloody events and the very regrettable turn the development of democracy has taken (in Egypt)," he added.

Denmark's aid in the two projects amounts to around 30 million kroner (four million Euros, or $5.3 million).

Friis Bach also called on the European Union to examine its aid to Cairo, and told Berlingske that Denmark plans to suspend its contribution to EU funding there.

US and EU

The United States and the European Union continued to send coordinated messages to army commander General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and recently-resigned Interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei during the four-day Eid Al-Fitr Muslim holiday that ended Sunday, pleading for a negotiated settlement, Western diplomats said.

"We had a political plan that was on the table, that had been accepted by the other side (the Muslim Brotherhood)," said EU envoy Bernardino Leon, who co-led the mediation effort with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

"They could have taken this option. So all that has happened today was unnecessary," Leon told Reuters in a telephone interview.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday night urged Egypt's military to allow elections and for all sides to avoid further violence.

"Today's events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy," Kerry told reporters.

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

Turkey, China and Russia

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting. "The Security Council of the United Nations should convene quickly to discuss the situation in Egypt," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara, describing the killings as a "very serious massacre."

China called for "maximum restraint" from all sides in Egypt. Beijing was "deeply worried by recent developments" in Egypt, the foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

"China calls upon all parties to treat the interests of the Egyptian state and citizens with maximum concern, to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid more casualties," the statement said.

In a bid to guarantee the safety of its nationals, Moscow's foreign ministry urged tourists to avoid trips to Egypt because of raging violence.

"Clashes and unrest that began in the capital are quickly spreading to other cities and regions of Egypt, including those favoured by tourists," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

"In these circumstances, the Russian foreign ministry recommends that Russian tourists refrain from visiting Egypt," the spokesman stressed.

The Federal Tourism Agency estimated that about 50,000 Russians were currently staying in the violence-wracked country, fewer than at other times of the year as Russians prefer to avoid Egypt's extreme heat in the summer months.

The Gulf

Conversely, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have separately voiced support for the crackdown, saying it was the state's duty to restore order.

Both Gulf countries, alongside Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, had welcomed the 3 July ouster by the army of Morsi, Egypt's first elected leader since an Arab Spring uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Following Morsi's ouster, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait pledged a combined total of $12 million in aid to support Egypt's faltering economy.

Qatar, a key supporter of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, strongly condemned Wednesday's crackdown in Cairo on protest camps set up by Morsi's supporters.





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