Spain asks Egyptian government to show restraint and avoid escalation

European ministers to discuss joint position as Denmark announces suspension of relations with army-backed government

Madrid -

The government has expressed to the Egyptian Embassy in Spain its condemnation of the violence unleashed by the army against supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, in Cairo on Wednesday, as well as calling for “broad and inclusive” dialogue to end the crisis. The representatives of the Egyptian interim government in Spain were also told that the state of emergency currently in place in Egypt should be ended as soon as possible and steps taken by all parties to bring about fresh elections and a return to democratic rule.

The director general for Maghreb, Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Manuel Gómez-Acebo, met on Friday with the Egyptian Embassy’s commercial attaché, in the absence of the country’s ambassador, to pass on the views of the Spanish government. A Foreign Ministry press release informed of this conversation, in which it was requested that the Egyptian military show restraint in the face of continued protests by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the imprisoned former president in order to prevent any further escalation of violence.

At least 638 people have lost their lives in this week’s violence after the army decided to break up two pro-Morsi protest camps in the Egyptian capital.

The Spanish government reminded the Egyptian diplomatic representative that Egypt is “a friend of Spain” and that “due to its relevance in the Arab world, what happens there has particular importance for the stability of the region.”

As of Thursday night, Denmark was the only country from the European Union to have formally broken its relations with the government in Cairo. The EU governments are expected to discuss their positions on the conflict ahead of a meeting between foreign ministers early next week.

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