Ambassadors of the 28-member European Union are holding an emergency meeting in Brussels in a bid to work out ways of exerting pressure on Egypt’s military.
EU foreign and security policy chief Catherine Ashton reportedly instructed the diplomats to draft proposals for the EU common stance on Egypt ahead of EU ministerial talks due later this week. The options on the table include suspending EU financial and economic aid to Egypt and banning supplies of non-lethal weapons and hardware as well as special equipment that can be used to suppress protests. Sanctions targeting a number of high-ranking Egyptian officials are also being considered.
Earlier, European Council President Herman van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso called on Egypt’s conflicting parties to show restraint and prevent an escalation of violence. They warned that the EU might review its relations with Egypt in the coming days. The Egyptian government and military are responsible for what is happening and must take steps to stop the bloodshed, the EU officials said.
The Egyptian government declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in 14 cities in response to violent protests by supporters of the ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. About 830 people were killed in clashes across the country last week as police used force to disperse the protesters.
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