European Union foreign ministers agreed on August 21 2013 to suspend export licences to Egypt of any equipment ‘’which might be used for internal repression’’ and to reassess export licences of military equipment and to review the security assistance to this country, the European Jewish Press reports.
But EU foreign ministers did not decide at this stage any suspension of the EU’s five billion euro financial aid to Egypt as they asked EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton “to review the issue of EU assistance to Egypt’’ which the EU regards as an ‘’important neighbour and partner.’’
After the special meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, at which a common response to the violent crisis situation in Egypt was discussed, the EU issued conclusions condemning ‘’in the clearest terms’’ all acts of violence.
They criticised the recent operations of the Egyptian security forces against the Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ousted president Morsi as being ‘’disproportionate’’ and ”having resulted in an unacceptable large number of deaths and injuries.”
The EU also condemned ”acts of terrorism such as the murder of Egyptian policemen in the Sinai, the destruction of many churches and the targeting of the Coptic community, attacks on government installations and museums.”
“While the EU respects the government’s responsibility for maintaining security for all citizens, it calls on the Egyptian authorities to end the state of emergency, to restore due process as a matter of urgency, to release all political prisoners and respect international obligations regarding the treatment of detainees,’’ the conclusions said.
The EU urged all political parties ‘’to engage in a real and inclusive dialogue in order to restore a democratic process responding to the legitimate requests and aspirations of the Egyptian people.’’
“We’ve always supported the democratic aspirations of the people of Egypt. We stand with the Egyptian people. Egypt is a crucial partner country, our relationships with the people of Egypt matter enormously to us,” Ashton said.
She said that EU governments “feel very strongly that they want to continue to support vulnerable people in Egypt”. Assistance to civil society will continue and the EU will monitor the situation in Egypt closely and readjust its co-operation accordingly,” Ashton said.
(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)