New Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Ahram Online archive)
The European Union said Thursday it was ready to work "closely" with newly elected Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi but urged him to ensure his government respected human rights and the rule of law.
A former general, Sisi won nearly 97 percent of the vote in last week's polls, nearly a year after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
In a statement the EU expressed its "willingness to work closely with the new authorities in Egypt in a constructive partnership with a view to strengthening our bilateral relations".
It outlined the "serious challenges" facing the country -- a "dire economic situation, the deep divisions within society, the security situation, and the respect of the human rights of all Egyptian citizens".
The EU said Egypt's new constitution enshrined a wide series of fundamental rights, but these were not always respected.
This must be remedied for a true democracy to take root, it said, expressing concern at the continued detention of "members of peaceful civil society, political opposition and activists," and demanding journalists be allowed to operate freely.
Expressing the hope that President Sisi would meet these obligations, the EU said it was ready to support his efforts to stabilise the economy and improve good governance.
Washington has also said it looks forward to working with Sisi while expressing similar concerns about Egypt's future.
The story had been edited by Ahram Online.