EU suspends arms sales, maintains aid programmes in Egypt

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EU foreign affairs ministers agreed on Wednesday to suspend export licences for any equipment that could be used for ‘internal repression’ in Egypt, but fell short of a full arms embargo.

The move comes after a crackdown by Egyptian security forces on supporters of deposed President Morsi, which resulted in over 900 deaths last week in Cairo.

‘Member States also agreed to suspend export licenses to Egypt of any equipment which might be used for internal repression and to reassess export licences of equipment covered by Common Position 2008/944/CFSP. That is the conclusion they have reached, suspension of licenses, reassessing common position and for each Member State to now take that and as always to interprate that in the context of relationship with Egypt’, said EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

After an emergency meeting held in Brussels on Wednesday, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton also said that EU ministers strongly condemn the use of violence and called on all sides to resume negotiations.

EU ministers also agreed to review any financial aid given to Egypt but said assistance to civil society would continue.

‘The EU stands ready to support Egypt in this process. We have agreed as well to review the issue of our assurance to Egypt with the understanding that assistance to the most vulnerable groups and civil society must continue’.
We strongly condemn all acts of violence and we do believe that the recent operations of the Egyptian security forces have been disproportionate. We were worried about the resulting alarming number of people who have been killed’, said EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

Earlier in July, Ashton visited Egypt to meet deposed President Morsi, becoming the first foreign official to do so.

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