Reactions to developments in Egypt
Reactions on Friday around the world to developments in Egypt following clashes in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands injured:
European leaders spoke Friday about the need for a coordinated EU response to the violence in Egypt and agreed there should be a meeting of the European Union’s foreign ministers next week. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an end to violence and a resumption of dialogue in Egypt. The German government statement said Merkel told Hollande that Germany, one of Egypt’s biggest trading partners, would “re-evaluate” its relations with Cairo in light of this week’s bloodshed. Hollande also discussed the violence with Italian Premier Enrico Letta and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on French television that no options would be off the table at the foreign ministers’ meeting, including a possible suspension of aid. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called the deaths in Egypt “shocking.”
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah voiced support for Egypt’s military-backed interim government, saying the kingdom stands by the country in its fight against “terrorism and strife” — an apparent reference to deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement. In a televised statement, Abdullah called for honest people and intellectuals “to stand firmly against all those who try to shake the stability of a country that has always led the Arab and Islamic worlds.”
Turkish officials kept up their criticism of the military government’s crackdown, with President Abdullah Gul saying that “all that happened in Egypt is a shame for Islam and the Arab world.” Turkey and Egypt recalled their ambassadors for consultations late Thursday as their relationship worsened.
About 1,500 people flooded the main avenue in central Tunis, many of them pouring out of the capital’s most important mosque. They gathered in a large square in front of the municipal theater, shouting support for the Egyptian people, especially supporters of Morsi, and condemning the Egyptian military and the U.S. The hour-long protest was peaceful.
Kuwait said it supported Egyptian government measures to secure the nation as about 100 protesters angry over Egypt breaking up protest camps demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy.
A Foreign Minister official, quoted Friday by the state-run Kuwait News Agency, called on parties to reconcile and stop the country from being dragged into “complete chaos.” The official said the government must start a serious dialogue with protesters, while also expressing his condolences for those killed.
The Foreign Ministry urged its citizens to refrain from traveling to Egypt, extending a previous warning to include Red Sea beach resorts around Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheik. Germans who are already in beach resorts were advised to be vigilant and stay in close touch with hotel management and travel agents. The German Travel Association said most Germany travel companies have cancelled all bookings to Egypt until Sept. 15.
The German government also announced it was suspending 25 million euros in aid to Egypt for climate and environmental protection projects. Funding for new development projects will not be approved for the time being, Development Minister Dirk Niebel said.
Fabius, the foreign minister, said he raised its alert level for Egypt on Friday, “formally discouraging” French people from traveling to the country. He said that meant, for example, that tour operators would no longer bring tourists to the country. He also encouraged French people already in Egypt to avoid big cities. He said the country wasn’t far off from civil war: “It’s in chaos.”
Italy’s Foreign Ministry expanded its travel advisory to discourage citizens from traveling to all of Egypt, including the Red Sea and northern sea resorts. Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said the “brutal and unacceptable” use of force by Egypt’s interim authorities presents a “worrying picture of violation of human rights.” Bonino also said the Muslim Brotherhood must act firmly to stop “the extremist and sectarian drifts and to calm down the use of violence.”
The Foreign Ministry warned against all travel to Egypt, saying there was a risk that the violent clashes between government forces and protesters “will spread throughout the country.” The ministry advised Swiss citizens already in Egypt to keep informed, obey curfews and stay away from crowds or “events of all kinds.”
Spain’s Foreign Ministry said it summoned the Egyptian Embassy’s charge d’affaires, because the ambassador was absent, to urge Egypt to revoke the state of emergency and rein in its security forces. The priorities of the transitional government in Cairo should be to avoid more bloodshed and respect human rights, the ministry said in a statement. It said all sides should be included in “a broad national and inclusive dialogue” to restore institutional normality.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide condemned the disproportionate violence against demonstrators in a telephone conversation with Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi. “My message was that everything must be done to prevent a bloodbath, that the security forces must comply with international human rights obligations, and that all parties must show restraint,” the online Norway Post quoted Eide as saying.
FINLAND, SWEDEN, NORWAY AND DENMARK
The Nordic countries changed their advice to citizens, warning against all non-essential travel to Egypt. Several tour operators canceled trips to Egypt and began returning tourists early from holiday resorts.
The Foreign Ministry is advising Poles against traveling to Egypt. However, the ministry said on its website that it considers Red Sea resorts safe. It also says Polish citizens in Egypt should avoid big cities, bazaars, shopping malls and museums.
Polish tourists returning from the beach resort of Hurghada told TVN24 in Warsaw that all tours were canceled, except visits to the town of Hurghada, and that armed guards were stationed at the town’s airport.
About 500 demonstrators, most of them Egyptian, gathered in Vienna’s downtown on St. Stephens Square, chanting the name of the deposed Egyptian president. Organizer Ali Ibrahim of the Egyptian Community in Austria said the protest was not in support of Morsi but “for democracy and the protection of freedom.”
Thousands of protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers, in several cities across Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, calling for the bloodshed in Egypt to end. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in his annual state-of-the-nation address that the excessive force used to disperse demonstrations in Egypt was against democratic values and humanity. He called on all parties to “build compromise and seek a win-win solution.”
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro on Friday condemned the violence in Egypt and announced that he has decided to recall his country’s ambassador to Cairo and leave the commercial attache in charge of the embassy.
He said that despite the political differences the Venezuelan government has had with the Muslim Brotherhood “we alerted very early on that the coup against president Morsi was unconstitutional and illegal.”
Venezuela’s leftist president added that “president Morsi is kidnapped and is the constitutional president of Egypt. ... The imperialist hands that are reaching into Egypt are responsible for the bloodbath.”
The Taliban condemned the violence and called for the restoration of Morsi as president. In a statement signed by The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the name under which the Taliban ruled Afghanistan until ousted by a U.S. invasion, they also called on international organizations to take practical steps to stop the violence and “not be satisfied with only condemning this barbaric incident.”