Gilmore speaks of concern over ‘coup’

Language used by Tánaiste to describe ousting of Morsi stronger than that of other governments

Eamon Gilmore: “I don’t think anyone who values democracy can be very happy about what is in effect a military coup in Egypt.” Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has expressed “deep concern” over what he referred to as a “military coup” in Egypt, using stronger language than other western governments to describe the ousting of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi.

“I don’t think anyone who values democracy can be very happy about what is in effect a military coup in Egypt,” Mr Gilmore said.

“I think what needs to happen very quickly is . . . a full restoration of democracy, a move towards elections as quickly as possible, get a government and parliament that is representative of all of the people and enables Egypt to make the transition to a democracy where the rights of all citizens are respected.”

Other European governments and the Obama administration also expressed concern but refrained from using the word “coup” to describe the military intervention that led to Mr Morsi’s removal on Wednesday. Most statements used the terms “military intervention” or “military takeover”.


US aid
US senator Patrick Leahy noted that the $1 billion a year (€774 million) in military aid Washington provided to Egypt would be cut off if Mr Morsi's ousting was deemed a military coup. US law restricts some types of aid to countries where the elected head of government is deposed by a military coup, or a coup in which the military plays a decisive role.

US president Barack Obama urged the Egyptian military to move “quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process” and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of Mr Morsi and his supporters.

Mr Gilmore's assessment that the events in Egypt constituted a coup was shared by Turkey and Tunisia. Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: "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."

Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party, Ennahda, condemned what it described as a “coup against legitimacy”.

British foreign secretary William Hague said the problem with a military intervention was that it set a precedent. "If this can happen to one elected president, it can happen to another. That's why it is so important to entrench democratic institutions and for political leaders to work on this together to find the compromises they haven't been able to make in Egypt over the last year."

Qatar, a state viewed by many as supportive of Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, said it would continue to “respect the will of the Egyptian” people, and would support “brotherly” Egypt as a leader in the Arab world.