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EU's Ashton urges Europe to agree 'appropriate measures' on Egypt

EU foreign policy chief calls on bloc to debate 'appropriate measures' in response to Egypt violence

AFP and Ahram Online, Friday 16 Aug 2013
Catherine-Ashton (Photo: Reuters)

The European Union's top diplomat Catherine Ashton on Friday said she had asked the 28-nation bloc to agree "appropriate measures" in response to escalating violence in Egypt.

"The toll of death and injury is shocking," she said in a statement. "I have asked member state representatives to debate and coordinate appropriate measures to be taken by the European Union in response to the situation in Egypt."

The EU has said top officials from its 28 members will meet Monday to review the crisis in Egypt, notably looking at convening a meeting of EU foreign ministers as soon as possible.

Egypt has faced growing international condemnation since around 600 people were killed in clashes on Wednesday as police broke up protest camps of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

In a statement earlier on Friday, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the spectre of the EU rethinking its cooperation with Egyptian authorities.

They also called for the EU's foreign ministers to meet as soon as next week "to take stock of cooperation between the European Union and Egypt, and to develop common responses."

Ashton said responsibility for the "tragedy" taking place in Egypt in the last days "weighs heavily on the interim government, as well as on the wider political leadership in the country."

At least 27 people were killed in fresh clashes on Friday between security forces and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. 

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