Saturday, August 17, 2013

Int'l community calls for dialogue in Egypt

Countries and regional blocs on Friday called for a return to dialogue to defuse the blood-shedding standoff in Egypt, urging all parties to exercise maximum restraint to ease violence.

French President Francois Hollande exchanged phone calls with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and British Prime Minister David Cameron in an effort to find an coordinated European response to the crisis in Egypt.

The French presidency said that the European leaders called for an end to violence, respect for human rights and return of national dialogue, urging a "strong European message" over the political deadlock in Egypt.

In an interview with RTL radio on Friday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called on Egyptian authorities and Muslim Brotherhood to sit at the same negotiating table.

The German government said earlier Friday that it "condemned in the strongest terms" the bloodshed in Egypt. Merkel told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily that Egypt can only overcome the crisis in a peaceful political process that is open to all political forces.

The European Union announced on Friday that top officials of its 28 members will meet next Monday to discuss the situation in Egypt, looking for a united message to the clash-ridden country.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was monitoring the situation with great disquiet.

Spain's Foreign Ministry said it summoned the Egyptian Embassy's charge d'affaires, urging to avoid more bloodshed and include all sides in "a broad national and inclusive dialogue" to restore normality.

Meanwhile, in telephone talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said it is the top priority that all parties concerned in Egypt proceed from the general interests of the nation and people and exercise maximum restraint so as to prevent the conflicts from further escalating.

Fahmy said that the Egyptian government will strive to achieve reconciliation through dialogue and formulate an interim political roadmap.

The United States gave no further statements on Friday after President Barack Obama on Thursday announced to cancel joint U.S.-Egypt military exercises, saying America's traditional cooperation with Egypt "cannot continue as usual."

Egypt's Interior Ministry said that a total of 48 people were killed and 436 injured on Friday.

The National Front for Supporting Legitimacy, a pro-Morsi alliance led by the Muslim Brotherhood and comprising some 30 Islamist parties and movements, has urged all Egyptians to join massive demonstrations on Friday dubbed "Friday of Anger" to protest against the recent bloodbath.

On Wednesday, at least 578 were killed and over 4,200 were injured in Cairo and Giza where security forces dispersed protesters backing ousted President Mohamed Morsi, besides relevant confrontations across the country.