The Egyptian army’s suspension of the constitution and removal of President Mohamed Morsi has drawn mixed responses from world leaders:
The European Union has called for a rapid return to democracy in Egypt.
“I urge all sides to rapidly return to the democratic process, including the holding of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections and the approval of a constitution, to be done in a fully inclusive manner, so as to permit the country to resume and complete its democratic transition,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement on Thursday.
Ashton said she hoped Egypt’s new administration would be fully inclusive. She stressed the importance of ensuring full respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law and said she would hold the authorities to account.
“I strongly condemn all violent acts, offer my condolences to the families of the victims, and urge the security forces to do everything in their power to protect the lives and well-being of Egyptian citizens,” she said.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday that Paris took note that elections had been announced in Egypt following a transition period after the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
“In a situation that has worsened seriously and with extreme tension in Egypt, new elections have finally been announced, after a transition period,” Fabius said in a statement.
France hoped a timetable would be drawn up respecting “civil peace, pluralism, individual liberties and the achievements of the democratic transition, so that the Egyptian people can freely choose their leaders and their future”, he added.
Saudi King Abdullah sent a message of congratulations to the head of the Egyptian Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, on Wednesday for being appointed interim head of state after the armed forces overthrew Morsi, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
“In the name of the people of Saudi Arabia and on my behalf, we congratulate your leadership of Egypt in this critical period of its history. We pray for God to help you bear the responsibility laid upon you to achieve the ambitions of our brotherly people of Egypt,” the message said.
Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday praised Egypt’s protests against their leader and said his overthrow by the military means the end of “political Islam”.
Assad, who is seeking to crush a revolt against his own rule, said Egyptians have discovered the “lies” of the Muslim Brotherhood.
He spoke in an interview with the state-run Al-Thawra newspaper to be printed in full Thursday.
“What is happening in Egypt is the fall of so-called political Islam,” Assad said. “This is the fate of anyone in the world who tries to use religion for political or factional interests.”
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates welcomed the change in Egypt, according to state news agency WAM, and praised the Egyptian armed forces.
“His Highness Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan, the foreign minister of the UAE, expressed his full confidence that the great people of Egypt are able to cross these difficult moments that Egypt is going through,” WAM said in a statement.
“Sheikh Abdullah said that the great Egyptian army was able to prove again that they are the fence of Egypt and that they are the protector and strong shield that guarantee Egypt will remain a state of institutions and law,” it added.
Britain urged for calm in Egypt following the army’s ouster of Morsi and spoke out against the use of military intervention in bringing about regime change, but stopped short of calling it a coup.
“The situation is clearly dangerous and we call on all sides to show restraint and avoid violence,” said Foreign Secretary William Hague.
“The United Kingdom does not support military intervention as a way to resolve disputes in a democratic system,” Hague said in the statement.
Britain called on all parties to move forward and “show the leadership and vision needed to restore and renew Egypt’s democratic transition.”
“It is vital for them to respond to the strong desire of the Egyptian people for faster economic and political progress for their country,” stressed Hague.
This must involve early and fair elections and civilian-led government, he said.
“In the long run only democratic processes and government by consent will bring the stability and prosperity that the people of Egypt seek,” added the minister.
The United States declined on Wednesday to criticise Egypt’s military, even as it was ousting of Morsi from power.
Shortly after Egypt’s army commander announced that Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, had been deposed and the constitution suspended the US State Department expressed concern over the military intervention.
The US ordered the mandatory evacuation of its embassy in Cairo, just hours after the army deposed Morsi. A later travel advisory confirmed that “the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency US government personnel and family members from Egypt due to the ongoing political and social unrest.”
US President Barack Obama released a statement saying he was deeply concerned by decision by Egyptian military to depose Morsi, and calls for a swift return to civilian government.
“No transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people. An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve,” Obama said.
“The long-standing partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds.”
However, the US also stopped short of calling the military intervention a coup.
Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, noted that any country involved in a coup was not entitled to aid from the US.
AL JAZEERA ENGLISH (AJE)