UK 'very concerned' about El-Sisi call for demonstrations

Amer Sultan, in London , Thursday 25 Jul 2013

'We believe that the army should not intervene in politics', UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman says regarding rallies planned for 26 July

The UK has expressed concern regarding the Egyptian army chief’s call for mass protests on Friday.

"We are very concerned about calls for further mass protests on 26 July," a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman told Ahram Online.

On Wednesday, General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi called for nationwide rallies on 26 July to give the armed forces and police a mandate to confront "possible violence and terrorism."

The UK has called for a quick return to democracy following the popularly-backed army removal of former president Mohamed Morsi from his post on 3 July.

"We believe that the army should not intervene in politics," the spokesman said when asked whether or not El-Sisi's call for demonstrations will help the return to democracy.

Morsi supporters have planned rival mass protests across Egypt on Friday.

Meanwhile, UK Middle East minister Alistair Burt stressed his country’s support for democracy, calling on all sides to refrain from violence and respect human rights and the rule of law.

Burt visited Egypt on 24 and 25 July, where he met with ministers from the interim government, including foreign minister Nabil Fahmy.

He also met with opposition figures, including representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"In my meetings with the interim government and the Muslim Brotherhood I have stressed the need for calm and restraint, and urged action by all sides to prevent violent demonstrations in the coming days," Burt said in an official statement.

Burt insisted that all political groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, take part in dialogue concerning Egypt's future.

The UK has called on Egyptian authorities to release political leaders who were arrested following Morsi’s ouster or charge them in accordance with Egyptian law. 

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