[QODLink]
Middle East

EU restricts arms sales to Egypt

European bloc suspends export licences for equipment used for "internal repression" but leaves aid programmes untouched.

Last Modified: 21 Aug 2013 19:59
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The EU has emerged a key player in Egypt since the army deposed Mohamed Morsi on July 3 [AFP]

The European Union has agreed to restrict exports of security equipment and arms to Egypt in response to the mounting violence but opted to maintain economic assistance.

Foreign ministers condemned the bloodshed after four hours of emergency talks in Brussels called after the deaths of almost 1,000 people in a week of unrelenting violence.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that the bloc will review the issue of assistance to Egypt with the understanding that assistance to the most "vulnerable" groups and to civil society must continue.

"Member states have agreed to suspend export licences to Egypt of any equipment used for internal repression, and to reassess their export licences covered by the EU common position," she said.

Spotlight
Follow our ongoing coverage of the political crisis in Egypt

Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have all adopted arms restrictions measures and Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said that "delivering arms this week, next week, in the short-term, would not be right".

But there was little taste from EU nations for a reduction in the EU's potentially huge economic aid packages or for trade sanctions, with Italy's Foreign Minister Emma Bonino notably calling any such idea "counter-productive".

"We must keep faith with the majority of the people of Egypt who want a stable, democratic and prosperous country for themselves and that means we mustn't do anything that hurts them or that cuts off support to them," added British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

"The principles of our policy are to support democratic institutions, not to take sides" he said.

The EU, seen as more neutral than the US, which provides aid to Egypt's military, has emerged a key player in Egypt since the army deposed Mohamed Morsi on July 3.

The new government allowed the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to become the first foreign official to see him in detention.

308

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list