The Associated Press
Reactions on Friday around the world to developments in Egypt following clashes in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands injured:
European leaders spoke Friday about the need for a coordinated EU response to the violence in Egypt. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed there should be a meeting of the European Union’s foreign ministers next week. The two called for an end to violence and a resumption of dialogue in Egypt. The German government statement said Merkel told Hollande that Germany, one of Egypt’s biggest trading partners, would “re-evaluate” its relations with Cairo in light of this week’s bloodshed.
Later, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on French television that no options would be off the table at the foreign ministers’ meeting, including a possible suspension of aid. Hollande and Italian Premier Enrico Letta also discussed the violence. EU policy chief, Catherine Ashton, called the deaths in Egypt “shocking.”
In Saudi Arabia, whose rulers have given financial assistance to the post-Morsi government in Egypt, the top religious cleric called on Egyptians to refrain from attacking police “as they are the ones who protect the country.” The online Saudi newspaper Riyadh also quoted Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik, who holds the rank of Cabinet minister, as saying that it would be “a great loss for the Muslim nation if Egypt, the big Islamic country, is destroyed.”
Turkish officials kept up their criticism of the military government’s crackdown, with President Abdullah Gul saying that “all that happened in Egypt is a shame for Islam and the Arab world.” Turkey and Egypt recalled their ambassadors for consultations late Thursday as their relationship worsened.
About 1,500 people flooded the main avenue in central Tunis, many of them pouring out of the capital’s most important mosque. They gathered in a large square in front of the municipal theater, shouting support for the Egyptian people, especially supporters of Morsi, and condemning the Egyptian military and the U.S. The hour-long protest was peaceful.
The Foreign Ministry urged its citizens to refrain from traveling to Egypt, extending a previous warning to include Red Sea beach resorts around Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheik. Germans who are already in beach resorts were advised to be vigilant and stay in close touch with hotel management and travel agents. The German Travel Association said most Germany travel companies have cancelled all bookings to Egypt until Sept. 15.
The German government also announced it was suspending 25 million euros in aid to Egypt for climate and environmental protection projects. Funding for new development projects will not be approved for the time being, Development Minister Dirk Niebel said.
Fabius, the foreign minister, said he raised its alert level for Egypt on Friday, “formally discouraging” French people from traveling to the country. He said that meant, for example, that tour operators would no longer bring tourists to the country. He also encouraged French people already in Egypt to avoid big cities. He said the country wasn’t far off from civil war: “It’s in chaos.”
The Foreign Ministry warned against all travel to Egypt, saying there was a risk that the violent clashes between government forces and protesters “will spread throughout the country.” The ministry advised Swiss citizens already in Egypt to keep informed, obey curfews and stay away from crowds or “events of all kinds.”
Spain’s Foreign Ministry said it summoned the Egyptian Embassy’s charge d’affaires, because the ambassador was absent, to urge Egypt to revoke the state of emergency and rein in its security forces. The priorities of the transitional government in Cairo should be to avoid more bloodshed and respect human rights, the ministry said in a statement. It said all sides should be included in “a broad national and inclusive dialogue” to restore institutional normality.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide condemned the disproportionate violence against demonstrators in a telephone conversation with Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi. “My message was that everything must be done to prevent a bloodbath, that the security forces must comply with international human rights obligations, and that all parties must show restraint,” the online Norway Post quoted Eide as saying.
FINLAND, SWEDEN, NORWAY AND DENMARK
The Nordic countries changed their advice to citizens, warning against all non-essential travel to Egypt. Several tour operators canceled trips to Egypt and began returning tourists early from holiday resorts.
The Foreign Ministry is advising Poles against traveling to Egypt. However, the ministry said on its website that it considers Red Sea resorts safe. It also says Polish citizens in Egypt should avoid big cities, bazaars, shopping malls and museums.
Polish tourists returning from the beach resort of Hurghada told TVN24 in Warsaw that all tours were canceled, except visits to the town of Hurghada, and that armed guards were stationed at the town’s airport.
About 500 demonstrators, most of them Egyptian, gathered in Vienna’s downtown on St. Stephens Square, chanting the name of the deposed Egyptian president. Organizer Ali Ibrahim of the Egyptian Community in Austria said the protest was not in support of Morsi but “for democracy and the protection of freedom.”
Thousands of protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers, in several cities across Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, calling for the bloodshed in Egypt to end. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in his annual state-of-the-nation address that the excessive force used to disperse demonstrations in Egypt was against democratic values and humanity. He called on all parties to “build compromise and seek a win-win solution.”
The Taliban condemned the violence and called for the restoration of Egypt’s deposed president, Mohammed Morsi. In a statement signed by The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the name under which the Taliban ruled Afghanistan until ousted by a U.S. invasion, they also called on international organizations to take practical steps to stop the violence and “not be satisfied with only condemning this barbaric incident.”