Reactions to Egyptian crackdown on pro-Morsi camps
Official reaction Thursday from around the world to clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands injured:
President Barack Obama canceled joint U.S.-Egypt military exercises, saying America’s traditional cooperation with Egypt “cannot continue as usual” while violence and instability deepen in the strategically important nation. Obama said his administration would look at possible further steps, but he gave no indication the U.S. planned to cut off its $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt. “America cannot determine the future of Egypt,” Obama said in his first statement since violence erupted Wednesday. “That’s a task for the Egyptian people.”
U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL
The U.N. Security Council called on the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise “maximum restraint” and end the violence. The views were expressed by the council president, Argentine Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, after an emergency meeting. It was not a formal statement and represented the lowest-level response by the U.N.’s most powerful body — a reflection of the serious differences among the 15 council members on how to respond to the escalating crisis. The council also called for national reconciliation and expressed regret at the loss of life.
Senior EU diplomats will meet Monday in Brussels to discuss the situation in Egypt and possible EU action, said Eamonn Prendergast, a spokesman for the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. He said the diplomats will decide whether to convene an emergency meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers on Egypt. The EU is a major source of aid, loans and business for Egypt, including European sun-seekers vacationing in the Red Sea resorts.
The government of neighboring Sudan denounced the violence, and its foreign ministry appealed to Egypt’s government and political parties to negotiate a solution that will spare Egyptian lives and avoid further violence.
The Sudanese Muslim Scholars Board, an institution close to the Muslim Brotherhood movement, issued a statement calling the violence “a battle between right and wrong, between faith and deception, between bare chests and criminal bullets.”
It called the crackdown a “Zionist-Christian plots” and said Islam is now “faced with a war that does not want to see Islam prevail or lead, even if it comes through the ballot boxes.” It urged Egyptians to “reject this injustice and to halt the horrible human slaughter.”
Iran’s new president is calling on the Egyptian army to stop “suppressing” the Egyptian people. “I warn Egypt’s military that Egyptians are a great and freedom-seeking nation. Do not suppress them,” President Hasan Rouhani in a speech in parliament broadcast live on Iranian state TV. He condemned what he said was army “brutality.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has urged its citizens to refrain from traveling to Egypt. The Russian Tourism Board had estimated that up to 60,000 Russian travelers were now in Egypt. Russian tourists have been advised to avoid big cities and rallies but diplomats have not urged Russians to stay away from the country altogether.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the West of ignoring violence in Egypt and called on the U.N. Security Council to meet urgently to discuss the situation. Erdogan also said Egypt’s leaders should stand trial “in a fair and transparent way” for what he termed a “massacre.”
French President Francois Hollande summoned Egypt’s ambassador and said “everything must be done to avoid civil war.” In a statement issued after the meeting, Hollande also said he “condemned in the strongest way possible the bloody violence in Egypt and demanded the immediate end to the repression.”
“The liberation of prisoners, while respecting the ongoing judicial procedures, could constitute a first step toward renewing negotiations,” Hollande added.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry “condemns the brutality of the repression in Egypt” and “calls for dialogue and conciliation.” It says the crackdown on the protesters is a “serious degradation of the security situation in a key country for the stability in the region.”
Germany’s Foreign Office summoned the Egyptian ambassador. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, speaking from Tunis, said the ambassador was told “that the bloodshed must come to an end now.” Germany also “strongly discouraged” its citizens from traveling to Egypt, especially Cairo, the Nile Delta and the Nile River tourist areas of Luxor and Aswan. The beach resorts of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheik were not affected.
Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino summoned Egypt’s ambassador Thursday to denounce the violence, saying the police response was “brutal, disproportionate and unjustified.” In a statement, the Foreign Ministry called for a speedy end to the state of emergency and to “repression and indiscriminate political arrests.” Italy also urged Egyptian security forces to behave with “maximum self-control.” Egypt’s Red Sea resort towns are very popular with Italians, many of whom own vacation homes there. The ministry has advised Italians against travel in Egypt, with the exception of these resorts.
The president of Tunisia’s governing moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, said Wednesday’s violence was “a disaster resulting from overturning the legal & constitutional order.” In an emailed statement, Rachid Ghannouchi added: “Our message to our brothers and sisters in Egypt: you will defeat dictatorship and your peaceful struggle will defeat blood and bullets.”
Argentina, which holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council this month, condemned “the brutal repression against popular protests that won the streets of the main cities of Egypt.” It urged authorities to “totally and immediately cease the spiral of violence loosed in recent days against unarmed citizens.”
Norway said it had frozen export licenses for military equipment to Egypt.
Bahrain said the crackdown was necessary “restore security, stability and public order.” The official Bahrain News Agency also said that Bahraini authorities urged dialogue and reconciliation.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The United Arab reaffirmed its support for the crackdown. “What is regretful is that political extremist groups have insisted on the rhetoric of violence, incitement, disruption of public interests and undermining of the Egyptian economy, which has led to the regretful events today,” it said in a statement Thursday in English. The UAE provided $3 billion of the $12 billion total financial aid promised by wealthy Arab Gulf nations to Egypt following Morsi’s overthrow.
The Danish government halted aid to Egypt worth 30 million kroner ($5.3 million).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged restraint on all sides and called for the Egyptian government to release political prisoners. “The government of Pakistan expresses its dismay and deep concern over the use of force by the Egyptian security forces against unarmed civilians,” the statement said.
The Afghan government condemned the “killing of civilian protesters” and expressed hope that “our brothers and sisters in Egypt to find a peaceful political solution soon.”
Sweden-based Electrolux told its 6,700 employees in Egypt to stay at home for a second day. Electrolux spokesman Daniel Frykholm said the company would reassess the situation on Sunday.
Spain’s government said it is calling the Egyptian ambassador in for talks on Friday to express its regret at the violent crackdown and also to convey its condemnation of the “attacks on public buildings and churches.”
Pope Francis urged prayers for “peace, dialogue and reconciliation for that dear land.”