Official: ‘Very difficult’ to predict EU decision on Egypt

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It would be “very difficult” to predict what EU members will decide when they meet on Wednesday to examine the bloc’s relationship with Egypt, said on Monday Bernardino Leon, the European Union’s special envoy for Egypt.

“I think that it’s very difficult to predict what will be the decision on Wednesday,” said Leon, addressing reporters after the initial round of emergency talks by senior diplomats of EU members on Egypt’s crisis, which has claimed nearly 800 lives over five days.

The envoy said that the bloc’s member states were “convinced” that a political solution for Egypt’s crisis was possible, although no options were “ruled out” at the meeting.

“We believe that the European Union has been, and is, and will be a key interloper, so at this stage, we haven’t discussed sanctions,” he said.

Ambassadors on the bloc’s Political and Security Committee were called back from their summer break to agree on a common position at the talks.

“We have been saying very clearly that all violence from both sides has to stop,” Leon said.

“It’s a very complex situation, and there are no easy solutions or easy ways out, but the EU will keep striving for [a solution].”

On Sunday, the bloc warned it would “urgently review” ties with Cairo in the coming days.

Warning the further escalation of violence could result in “unpredictable consequences,” Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission urged Egypt’s interim government and army to refrain from violence, restart dialogue and adhere to the democratic process.

The EU has pledged nearly five billion euros ($6.7 billion) in aid to Egypt but the bloc has cautioned this too was under “constant review” after Islamist President Mohammad Mursi’s ouster.

(With AFP)

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