France, Germany, Britain summon Egypt ambassadors over bloody crackdown

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France and Germany on Thursday have summoned the Egyptian ambassadors in their respective countries over the deadly crackdown in Egypt that led to the deaths of more than 400 people on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Egypt’s health ministry raised the death toll figure to at least 421 people killed and thousands injured as a result of security forces’ attempt to clear Cairo protest camps, Agence France-Presse reported.

Britain has summoned Egypt’s ambassador to express its “deep concern” at the deadly violence in the country and urged the authorities to act with “the greatest restraint,” the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) we called in the Egyptian ambassador to express our deep concern at the escalating violence and unrest in Egypt,” a spokesman said, according to AFP.

“Simon Gass, the Foreign Office political director, condemned the use of force to clear the protests and urged the Egyptian authorities to act with the greatest restraint.”

French President Francois Hollande summoned the Egyptian ambassador to convey France’s “great concern over the tragic events,” AFP reported his office as saying in a statement, adding that the leader urged Egypt's rulers to swiftly end a month-long state of emergency imposed in the wake of the crackdown.

He said “everything must be done to avoid a civil war” in Egypt.

“France is committed to finding a political solution and calls for elections to be held as soon as possible, in line with the commitments made by Egypt's transitional authorities.”

Meanwhile, Germany’s foreign ministry spokeswoman told AFP that “on the orders of Foreign Minister (Guido) Westerwelle, the [Egyptian] ambassador was told the position of the German government in no uncertain terms.”

The crackdown by security forces against protesters, who are calling for the re-installment of Mursi, has drawn international condemnation.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting reading the crisis.

“The Security Council of the United Nations should convene quickly to discuss the situation in Egypt,” AFP quoted Erdogan as saying to reporters in Ankara. He went on to describe the killings as a “very serious massacre.”

Denmark on Thursday announced that it has suspended development aid to Egypt, in response to the “bloody events.

“Denmark has two projects in direct collaboration with the Egyptian government and public institutions, and they are now going to be suspended,” Christian Friis Bach, the development aid minister, said in an interview with the Berlingske newspaper.

He added: “It is in response to the bloody events and the very regrettable turn the development of democracy has taken.”

According to AFP, Denmark’s aid amounts to around 30 million kroner ($5.3 million).

Friis Bach also urged the European Union to re-examine its aid policy to Cairo, and told the newspaper that Denmark plans to suspend its contribution to EU funding to the country.

The violence has prompted the government to declare a month-long state of emergency and a nighttime curfew in Cairo, Alexandria on the Mediterranean and 12 other provinces.

(With AFP)

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