International community condemns use of force in Egypt

Egypt’s interim vice president Mohamed El Baradei, who resigned yesterday, speaks at a news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Cairo in July. Ms Ashton called on the security forces to “exercise utmost restraint and on all Egyptian citizens”. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

The EU and US have castigated yesterday's use of force by the Egyptian authorities to disperse Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins at Nasr City and Giza.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who attempted to mediate dialogue during a recent visit to Cairo, stated, "Confrontation and violence is not the way forward to resolve key political issues. I deplore the loss of lives, injuries and destruction. I call on the security forces to exercise utmost restraint and on all Egyptian citizens to avoid further provocations and escalation."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: "The United States strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters in Egypt. We extend our condolences to the families of those who have been killed and to the injured. We have repeatedly called on the Egyptian military and security forces to show restraint."

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence and urged all sides to "prevent further loss of life [and] concentrate their efforts on promoting genuinely inclusive reconciliation."


Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said he deplored the loss of life in Egypt. "I appeal for the authorities to show restraint and for all involved to refrain from violence," he said.

In July, Mr Gilmore used stronger language than any other western government to describe the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi, which he called a military coup.

British foreign secretary William Hague expressed disappointment yesterday that diplomatic efforts were unable to see a peaceful end to the stand-off.

German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle spoke of Berlin's concern over the "very dangerous" escalation of violence.

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Brotherhood ally, said the operation had resulted in a "massacre" and urged the UN and Arab League to take action.

Qatar, which has also strongly backed the Brotherhood, urged the Egyptian authorities to “refrain from the security option in dealing with peaceful protests, and to preserve Egyptian lives at protest sites.”

The Palestinian Hamas movement, a Brotherhood offshoot, condemned the "terrible massacre".

Michael Jansen

Michael Jansen

Michael Jansen contributes news from and analysis of the Middle East to The Irish Times