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EU condemns all violence in Egypt, encourages political solution: Leon

All options are open for Egypt to be discussed in Wednesday foreign ministers' meeting, says European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Bernardino Leon

Ahram Online , Monday 19 Aug 2013
European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Bernardino (Photo Reuters)

EU Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Bernardino Leon stresses all options will be open during the foreign ministers' meeting planned for Wednesday.

Leon emphasised the European Union's preference towards political solutions and excluded the idea of sanctions.

“The [Egyptian] government has a special responsibility but the violence has been from both sides,” he said adding at a press briefing, adding that the EU has a clear stance against recent attacks on Coptic churches and government buildings.

“Violence from both sides has to stop," he stressed.

“We [the EU] still think that there are democratic forces left and we will try to address them and keep working with them constructively,” Leon affirmed saying that although Egypt is in a difficult spot, the EU wishes to remain a constructive actor promoting a political solution, while still taking a stand against violence.

“Egypt is a key partner...probably the most important partner in the is absolutely important not only for Egypt but for the whole region and for Europe’s foreign relations to be engaged constructively in Egypt,” he stressed.

Security forces have clamped down on the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters, who are trying to reinstate Mohamed Morsi into presidency, which the military deposed on 3 July after mass nationwide protests for his ouster.

Over 600 were killed when police forces dispersed two main pro-Morsi sit-ins that were protesting what they call the "military coup" against the Brotherhood-fielded president. Hundreds have been arrested and several accused of inciting violence.

Meanwhile, Coptic churches, government buildings, police and fire stations have been systematically attacked.

On Sunday, 38 pro-Morsi protesters were killed as they were being transported to prison. The interior ministry released a statement saying they died when armed men attacked the car trying to help the prisoners escape and clashes ensued.

Later on Sunday, 24 conscripts were stopped on their way home from Sinai where they were stationed and shot by militants. Violence between Islamic militants and security forces in Sinai has been escalating since Morsi’s ouster. The Muslim Brotherhood released a statement condemning the attack.

The military has repeatedly made statements demanding Egyptians support it in its “war on terrorism.”  

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