Aug 19 2013
European Union ambassadors are set to meet to discuss the crisis in Egypt amid international alarm at the growing death toll as the interim military government cracks down on the supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy issued a rare joint statement warning that the EU would "urgently" review its relations with Egypt in the coming days.
Prime Minister David Cameron and French president Francois Hollande have called for the meeting of ambassadors in Brussels to be followed by an emergency session of EU foreign ministers.
Britain has condemned the "disproportionate use of force" by the Egyptian authorities and called on all sides to end the violence and to enter dialogue.
In their statement, Mr Barroso and Mr Van Rompuy said all political forces in Egypt must recommit to the country's democratic future and called on the army to support a move towards early elections and the establishment of a civilian government.
"We regret deeply that international efforts and proposals for building bridges and establishing an inclusive political process, to which the EU contributed actively, were set aside and a course of confrontation was instead pursued. This path will not succeed. It is crucial that violence ends immediately," they said.
"The calls for democracy and fundamental freedoms from the Egyptian population cannot be disregarded, much less washed away in blood."
But Egyptian authorities have hit back against the EU's warnings, rejecting the "internationalisation" of the crisis and instead calling it an internal affair. Nabil Fahmy, the foreign minister in the military-backed interim government, said that Cairo could manage without the EU's help, the Guardian said.
"I want to determine what is useful and what is not and what aid is being used to pressure Egypt and whether this aid has good intentions and credibility," he told reporters in Cairo.
He also told Mr Hague and other foreign ministers that the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies were "terrorising citizens, attacking governmental institutions, hospitals, churches, places of worship". And Mr Fahmy also criticised the international community, saying: "Their silence encourages armed groups to continue using violence and intimidation."