NEW YORK (TIP): The ever increasing violence in Egypt which has claimed hundreds of lives and is threatening a bloody civil war in the country has shaken world leaders and the United Nations. The Argentine president of the United Nations Security Council urged all parties in the crisis in Egypt to exercise “maximum restraint” on Thursday, following an emergency meeting in New York.
Argentine Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval said that the Council’s 15 member states had regretted the loss of life in Cairo, called for an end to the violence and spoke of the need to advance “national reconciliation”. The meeting was requested by France, Britain and Australia a day after nearly 600 people were killed when security forces moved to clear camps of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
France and Britain are permanent members of the Security Council and Australia is one of the 15 countries currently represented. Argentina currently presides over the Council. Perceval said its members shared “a common desire” to stop the unrest. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence and urged calm and restraint on both sides.
He made no direct criticism of the military leadership or the protesters who had refused to disperse on their own but said he was “well aware that the vast majority of the Egyptian people, weary of disruptions to normal life caused by demonstrations and counterdemonstrations, want their country to go forward peacefully in an Egyptian-led process towards prosperity and democracy.” UN rights chief Navi Pillay has urged a wide-ranging probe.
A disturbed President Obama announced that the United States had canceled longstanding joint military exercises with the Egyptian Army set for next month, using one of his few obvious forms of leverage to rebuke Egypt’s military-backed government for its brutal crackdown on supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi. Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry termed Egypt violence as “deplorable”.
“The United States strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters in Egypt,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement. “We have repeatedly called on the Egyptian military and security forces to show restraint and for the government to respect the universal rights of its citizens, just as we have urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.”
The U.S. opposed the one-month state of emergency imposed by the Egyptian government, he added. Britain, Germany, France and Italy also criticized the use of force and called on both sides to stand down from their dangerous face-off and return to meaningful dialogue to defuse Egypt’s political stand-off.