By Charlie Miller
Clashes in Egypt are of grave concern for all Europeans and inclusiveness of all the country’s parties is paramount, said the EU’s head of foreign affairs on Sunday.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton’s statement came in response to ongoing violence between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, security forces, the military and elements opposed to the ex-president.
Ashton called for an immediate end to the violence, adding: “confrontation cannot be the solution for the problems currently facing Egypt.” She stressed that a willingness to include all parties and constituencies in the political sphere is imperative to achieving stability and democracy. Such efforts must rely on the free and full participation of ”all democratic forces” in order for there to be a credible return to a democratic transition, she said.
Calls were made on behalf of the EU to introduce measures aimed at initiating universal dialogue whilst preserving civil liberties, with an end goal of elections. The statement emphasised the importance of holding elections within the “shortest possible time”.
The EU offered its support to Egyptian leaders in efforts to bring calm to the country and restore political and social peace. The High Representative also offered her condolences to the families of the victims of the recent clashes, and said she is saddened by the deaths and injuries caused by the violence.
This latest statement echoed a statement made on 3 July, in which the European Union expressed its concern over sexual abuse of female protesters.
Alistair Burt, a Foreign Office minister from the UK also commented on recent events in Egypt in an interview with Sky News yesterday. Burt stated that the participation of all political parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, in elections was “essential”. He also described the situation as “very polarised” and that a move to civil administration and elections should be expedited. He also called for the release of non-violent political protesters arrested in recent weeks.