Updated: Wed, 14 Aug 2013 08:54:53 GMT | By The Associated Press, thecanadianpress.com

Reactions to outbreak of violence in Egypt



Reactions to outbreak of violence in Egypt

Makeshift wooden huts burn at a sit-in camp set up by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi as Egyptian security forces clear the camp near Cairo University in Cairo's Giza district, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. Egyptian police in riot gear swept in with armored vehicles and bulldozers Wednesday to clear the sit-in camp and the other set up by supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president in Cairo, showering protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out. (AP Photo/Mohammed Asad)

The reactions of some countries and the United Nations to clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, in which dozens were killed Wednesday.

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CANADA

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is calling for calm amid the escalating violence.

In a statement, Baird said he's deeply concerned by the situation and called on Egypt to implement much-needed changes to ease tensions.

"We urge both parties to avoid violence, and engage in a meaningful political dialogue for the good of all Egyptians," said Baird.

"All Egyptians should show restraint and resolve in the coming days."

Baird reiterated the Canadian government's stance that Egypt needs a transparent democratic system that encourages and respects civil society as well as all segments of the population.

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TURKEY

Turkey's government, which has been consistently critical of the military-backed ouster of Morsi, harshly criticized the crackdown. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office called the crackdown "a serious blow to the hopes of a return to democracy." It also blamed other unnamed countries for encouraging the government after Morsi's ouster on July 3.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned that Egypt could descend into chaos, comparing the clashes to the crackdown in Syria that precipitated a civil war.

Turkey itself has been criticized in recent months for heavy-handed police tactics in clamping down on protests against Erdogan's government that included firing tear gas canisters directly at protesters. Hundreds of Turks in Ankara and Istanbul protested against the crackdown.

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UNITED NATIONS

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence and called on all sides to reconsider their actions in light of new political realities and the need to prevent further loss of life.

Ban said he regrets that Egyptian authorities chose to use force to respond to the demonstrations and is "well aware that the vast majority of the Egyptian people, weary of disruptions to normal life caused by demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, want their country to go forward peacefully in an Egyptian-led process towards prosperity and democracy," according to a statement from his office.

Ban urged all Egyptians to focus on reconciliation, the statement said, because he believes that "violence and incitement from any side are not the answers to the challenges Egypt faces."

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GERMANY

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the government was "extremely worried" about the "very dangerous" escalation of violence in Egypt, indirectly criticizing the leadership for its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood while at the same time urging an end to violence.

"We expect from the transitional government and the Egyptian authorities that they allow peaceful demonstrations just as we expect from the other political forces that they distance themselves clearly from violence, that they don't demand violence and don't act violently."

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the "decisive principle" must be "that the human rights of all Egyptians, independent of their political direction and conviction, have to be respected and protected."

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JORDAN

Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood has urged its Egyptian peers to continue protests, saying their victory will help the fundamentalist group rise to power elsewhere in the Arab world.

A harshly-worded statement by the Brotherhood's political arm, the Islamic Action Front, also warns Egypt's military rulers that they have fallen into a "conspiracy" hatched by the United States and Israel to weaken Muslims.

"Today is your day, and upon its outcome, the future of Egypt, Arabs and Muslims will be determined," according to a statement issued before 200 Brotherhood activists staged a protest outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman.

The protesters rebuked Egypt's military rulers as a "tool for corrupt and tyrant military regimes."

Jordan's police sealed off the area around the embassy saying they expect the numbers to swell later.

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BRITAIN

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he is deeply concerned about the escalating violence and loss of life on all sides, condemning the use of force in clearing protests and urging security forces to act with restraint.

"The U.K. has been closely involved in intensive diplomatic efforts directed at reaching a peaceful resolution to the standoff," he said in a statement. "I am disappointed that compromise has not been possible."

Hague said that leaders "on all sides" must work to reduce the risk of further violence, adding that only then will it be possible to "take vital steps" toward reconciliation.

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IRAN

Iran's Foreign Ministry condemned the crackdown, warning that the violence "strengthens the possibility of civil war."

"While denouncing the violent crackdown and condemning the massacre of the people, it expresses its deep concern regarding the undesirable consequences" of the events, the ministry said in a statement.

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ITALY

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino appealed to all sides in Egypt to do what they can to immediately stop the explosion of violence and "avoid a bloodbath."

Bonino expressed deep sorrow for the loss of human lives.

"I had expressed the hope that the squares with the sit-ins be emptied" through an agreement among all sides, and "not with the intervention of police forces, which doesn't help the search for a solution to the political crisis," Bonino said.

She added that it was essential that security forces "exercise maximum self-control; likewise, everyone must avoid every incitement to violence." Bonino renewed an appeal for the resumption of a "process of national dialogue."

_ With files from The Canadian Press.

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