France Leads European Union in Condemnation of Violence in Egypt

Tahir square in February 2011 where protests led to the fall of Mubarak. Photo: monasosh, flickr

Tahir square in February 2011 where protests led to the fall of Mubarak.
Photo: monasosh, flickr

Recent events in Egypt have provoked a torrent of condemnation from the European Union, particularly in France, as President François Hollande warns of an impending “civil war.” Officials in Paris have also indicated that they are  contemplating evacuating tourists and Berlin has cut all aid to the divided country.

Paris intensified its efforts to avoid an escalation of violence in Egypt on Thursday with a strongly worded statement by Hollande calling for the state of emergency to be “quickly lifted.”

Hollande’s reaction to the crisis came after 525 people were killed in clashes in Cairo, as police and soldiers clamped down on the ex-president Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

In a statement on its website, the French foreign office, France Diplomatie, said that Paris “utterly deplores the violence” and called on parties to “show the utmost restraint and caution” to find a solution.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius also condemned the bloody violence in the “strongest possible terms.” Referring to recent events as a “grave crisis,” Fabius called upon Egypt to “begin a dialogue which includes all Egyptian political forces in order to find a democratic solution.”

France is not the only European country to call for an end to the violence. German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed France’s calls for a dialogue and announced that Egypt had to “find the route to a democratic life as quickly as possible.”

Merkel, Hollande and the British Prime Minister David Cameron are thought to want to unite the European Union to collaborate a response to the Egyptian situation next week. It was announced on Thursday that all three countries had summoned their respective Egyptian ambassadors to try to put an end to the death toll.

On Friday Fabius also indicated to press that the potential evacuation of French nationals from the country was being investigated, as tour operators cancelled trips to the crisis-hit country.

Since the coup in July, it is suspected that Egypt’s tourism industry has lost 720 million dollars in business. Travel groups Thomas Cook and TUI announced on Friday that all holidays to the country from Germany were cancelled until September 15.

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy called on all sides to show restraint in a bid to prevent further escalation of the violence. The joint statement from Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso announced that the EU will “urgently review in the coming days its relations with Egypt and adopt measures aimed at pursuing these goals.”

The question of foreign aid has also been raised, with Berlin suspending 25 million euros in aid to the country, as it reevaluated its relationship with the interim government led by the Egyptian judge Adly Mansour.

Egypt’s interim army-led government has defended its crackdown of the Muslim Brotherhood, with presidential adviser Mostafa Hegazy telling France 24 that forces had shown a huge amount of “self-control and self-restraint,” insisting that security services were acting to confront a “terrorist plot.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague called on his Egyptian counterpart to express his government’s condemnation of all acts of violence from both sides, particularly highlighting that attacks on mosques and churches were “unacceptable.”

Islamists have reportedly torched churches of the country’s Christians, accusing them of supporting the interim government.

On Friday, hundreds protested in Paris against the violence in Egypt.

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  1. […] Recent events in Egypt have provoked a torrent of condemnation from the European Union, particularly France, as President François Hollande warns of an impending “civil war.” Officials in Paris have also indicated that they are contemplating evacuating tourists, and Berlin has cut all aid to the divided country. Paris intensified its efforts to avoid… […]

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