World reacts to Mursi’s ouster in calls for quick return to democracy

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After Egypt’s armed forces overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi, officials from around the world on Thursday reacted to the news, mostly calling for a quick return to democracy.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described as “unacceptable” the army’s ousting of Mursi, an intervention he labeled a “military coup.”

“Only can you be removed from duty through elections, that is, the will of the people. It is unacceptable for a government, which has come to power through democratic elections, to be toppled through illicit means and even more, a military coup,” Davutoglu told reporters.

The party of Tunisia’s president condemned the overthrow of Mursi as a blow to democracy, in the first public reaction to events in Cairo from the cradle of the ‘Arab Spring’ movement.

“The party condemns the military coup against the democratic process,” said Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki’s secularist party, the Congress for the Republic, in a statement.

“We view what the leadership of the army has done as a setback on the path of the Egyptian revolution and an attempt to reinstall the old regime,” it said.

Infographic: Mursi: down and out in four days (Design by Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya English)
Infographic: Mursi: down and out in four days (Design by Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya English)

As the streets of Egypt – where millions had been joined anti-Mursi protests this week – rejoiced in celebration, The European Union called on the country to hold free and presidential and parliamentary elections.

"I urge all sides to rapidly return to the democratic process, including the holding of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections and the approval of a constitution, to be done in a fully inclusive manner, so as to permit the country to resume and complete its democratic transition," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement, according to AFP.

She also voiced hopes that Egypt's new administration would be fully inclusive, stressing the importance of ensuring full respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law and said she would hold the authorities to account for this.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday appealed for calm and restraint in Egypt.

"Many Egyptians in their protests have voiced deep frustrations and legitimate concerns," he said in a statement, reported by Reuters,that did not condemn the Egyptian armed forces' ouster of Mursi.

"At the same time, military interference in the affairs of any state is of concern," he said. "Therefore, it will be crucial to quickly reinforce civilian rule in accordance with principles of democracy."

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he was “deeply concerned” by the Egyptian military decision to remove Mursi.

He called for the swift return to civilian government, adding that he has directed relevant U.S. agencies to review the implications of U.S. to the Egyptian military.

In the Arab world, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz congratulated the newly-appointed Egyptian interim President, Adly Mansour, on Wednesday.

“In my own name and on behalf of the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I congratulate you on assuming the leadership of Egypt at this critical point of its history,” said the king in a cable carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). “By doing so, I appeal to Allah Almighty to help you to shoulder the responsibility laid on your shoulder to achieve the hopes of our sisterly people of the Arab Republic of Egypt.”

King Abdullah also praised the armed forces.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates is following the developments in Egypt with satisfaction, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said on Wednesday, adding that UAE will continue to strengthen its bilateral relations with Egypt.

Jordan also commented on the latest developments in Egypt, Al Arabiya correspondent reported. The kingdom said it respected the wishes of the Egyptian people as well as the role of the armed forces.

Meanwhile, in controversial remarks, a top lawmaker close to Russian President Vladimir Putin said Mursi’s ouster proves that democracy does not work in non-Western states,.

"The events in Egypt show that there is no quick and peaceful transition from authoritarian regimes to democratic politics," said Alexei Puskov, chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee.

"This means that democracy does not work as a panacea, especially in countries that are not part of the Western world," he told the Interfax news agency.

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