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Nation/World

August 19, 2013

EU to 'urgently review' its relations with Egypt

BRUSSELS — The European Union will “urgently review” its relations with Egypt, where more than 800 people have died in clashes between security forces and supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, officials said yesterday.

In a rare joint foreign policy statement, the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council said it’s the responsibility of the army and the interim government to end the violence.

Calls for democracy and fundamental rights “cannot be disregarded, much less be washed away in blood,” and “the violence and the killings of these last days cannot be justified nor condoned,” Jose Manuel Barroso, of the commission, and Herman Van Rompuy, of the council, said.

EU foreign ministers are expected to hold an emergency meeting on Egypt this week. The bloc is a major source of aid and business for Egypt.

In Paris, French President Francois Hollande said European and Arab nations have a “common responsibility” to do what they can so the violence in Egypt ends and a political life can be restarted.

Hollande spoke after meeting with the Saudi Arabian foreign minister, saying he doesn’t want to interfere in Egyptian affairs, but “violence at this level is not acceptable in a great nation like Egypt.”

Hollande called on Egyptian political authorities to quickly organize elections “so that people can express themselves.” He said other nations must “do all so that violence ceases.” The French president didn’t say what nations should do to help end the crisis in Egypt.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius held a separate meeting with his Qatari counterpart, Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, as French authorities reached across the divide that has cut Egypt into two camps.

Qatar is known as a leading ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement of Morsi, while Saudi Arabia King Abdullah has said the kingdom stood by Egypt in its fight against “terrorism and strife” — a thinly veiled reference to the Brotherhood.

“We must quickly end this bloodbath and reach an inter-Egyptian dialogue,” Fabius said after meeting the Qatari envoy.

Meanwhile, several hundred pro-Morsi backers held a demonstration in Paris while a pro-army group protested on the other side of town.

Associated Press writer Elaine Ganley in Paris contributed to this report.

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