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International reactions to Morsi's removal range from glee to censure

World capitals' reactions to Egyptian president's removal range from condemnation of 'military coup' to cautious optimism to outright glee

Nadeen Shaker , Thursday 4 Jul 2013
Anti-Morsi protesters walk with their flags as they celebrate in Tahrir square after the announcement of the removal from office of Egypt's deposed President Mohamed Morsi (Photo: Reuters)

International capitals that had strained relations with Egypt during former President Mohamed Morsi's tumultuous one-year rule have hailed his removal by the Egyptian army following mass demonstrations.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan said that he had followed developments in Egypt with "much consideration and satisfaction," lauding Egypt's army for its timely intervention, AFP reported.

Relations between Abu Dhabi and Egypt have been strained since Morsi's victory in Egypt's first-ever free presidential election one year ago. Abu Dhabi has since arrested scores of pro-reform Egyptian voices, meanwhile, accusing them of establishing illegal Muslim Brotherhood "cells" in the oil-rich emirate.

Syrian government television portrayed Morsi's ouster as a "great achievement." Egypt's and Syria's leaders had been at loggerheads over the crisis in Syria, with each calling for the other's removal.

The New York Times stated that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, in an interview with a state-run newspaper, had equated Morsi's overthrow with the "end of political Islam."

Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and Saudi King Abdullah both congratulated Egypt's interim president, according to Reuters.

Saudi Arabian King Abdulla, for his part, sent Adli Mansour, Egypt's new interim president, a message of congratulations Wednesday night, Reuters reported.

The only Gulf Arab state that had backed the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, also hailed the news of Morsi's ouster. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar's new emir, sent a "congratulatory communiqué" to Egypt's new interim president upon the latter's being sworn into office on Thursday.

On the other hand, Tunisia's ruling Islamist party, Ennahda, loosely affiliated with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, issued a Thursday statement condemning what it described as a "coup against [democratic] legitimacy," Reuters quoted him as saying.

"We view what the leadership of the army has done as a setback on the path of the Egyptian revolution and an attempt to reinstall the old regime," the statement said.

Turkey, which grappled with its own anti-government demonstrations last month, also condemned the Egyptian military's intervention, describing it as "undemocratic."

"The power change in Egypt was not a result of the will of the people. The change was not in compliance with democracy and law," AFP quoted Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag as saying.

Egypt's case is of particular relevance for Turkey, which has a long history of military coups against democratically-elected Islamist governments.

Fearing an upsurge of violence in the region, Russia's foreign ministry called on Egyptian political groups to "exercise restraint" and refrain from using violence in the aftermath of Morsi's army-imposed ouster.

Though a staunch supporter of the principle of state sovereignty, China voiced support for the "choice of the Egyptian people" but called for engaging in national dialogue.

AFP reported that Germany viewed the military intervention in Egypt as a "major setback to democracy."

Ikhwan Online, the website of the Muslim Brotherhood, posted a message conveying Brazil's disapproval of the military coup. "Brazil refuses to acknowledge the military takeover in Egypt," the message read. 

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, for his part, said his country would back whoever was in power in Cairo, while branding what happened in Egypt as "popular intervention."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered praise for the Egyptian army and sent his congratulations to Mansour.

Israel, meanwhile, remains cautious about the changes in Egypt.

Although its prime minister has refrained from releasing a statement, many MPs and Likud party members have expressed optimism regarding the resumption of ties – including economic ones – with Egypt.

Giora Eiland, a retired general and former Israeli national security adviser, when asked if most Israeli officials supported the military coup against Egypt's elected president, said: "I think so. Of course, they cannot say so," Reuters reported.

Similarly, Iran gave a guarded response, warning against "foreign and enemy opportunism during the difficult conditions that follow," Iranian Fars new agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi as saying.

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