UN chief slams upsurge of violence in Egypt
Updated: 2013-07-29 07:35
A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi touches the blood from pro-Mursi protesters, killed during late night clashes, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, near their campsite at Rabaa Adawiya Square, in Nasr city area, east of Cairo July 28, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Sunday strongly condemned "the upsurge of violence in Egypt," which reportedly left more than 70 people dead, and urged "all Egyptian leaders to urge their supporters to show restraint."
The secretary-general made the statement in his phone conversations with the Egyptian Interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, Ban's spokesman told reporters here.
"The secretary-general expressed his profound concern about the direction in which the transition in Egypt is moving," the spokesman said. He strongly condemned the upsurge of violence in Egypt that has led to the deaths of so many."
The death toll in Egypt's overnight clashes that erupted Friday and continued until the early hours of Saturday rose to 75, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry.
On Friday, millions of Egyptians in Cairo and other governorates rallied in support of chief of the Armed Forces and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to show the popular approval of the security crackdown on extremism and terrorism.
In contrast, throngs of ousted President Mohamed Morsi's supporters held various rallies in the country, demanding the return of the deposed president and labeling his overthrow "a military coup against legitimacy."
Ban "called on the interim authorities to assume full responsibility for the peaceful management of the demonstrations and to ensure the protection of all Egyptians, regardless of party affiliation," the spokesman said in a readout issued to the reporters here.
"The secretary-general renewed his calls for the interim authorities to launch a genuinely inclusive, peaceful political process for going forward," said the spokesman. "He underlined that with every new death this long-term reconciliation becomes harder."
"The secretary-general said he was appealing to all Egyptian leaders to urge their supporters to show restraint, and to put the interest of their country above individual, group and political interests in order to start a meaningful reconciliation process," he said.
Ban "repeated his calls for Mr. Mohammed Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders to be released by the interim authorities, or to have their cases reviewed in the fullest transparency," the spokesman added.
Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour issued a decree on Sunday to give Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi some of the presidential powers stipulated in the emergency law, the Egyptian media reported.
One of the powers transferred to Beblawi is the power to grant the military the right to arrest civilians, state-run Ahram newspaper reported.
The decision, made after recent deadly clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted Islamist-oriented Morsi, may be a prelude to the expected crackdown on some of Morsi's loyalists who have launched a number of attacks against the security forces in Sinai.