“Norway condemns the disproportionate use of violence against demonstrators in Egypt. I have talked today to Egypt’s interim Prime Minister, Hazem el-Beblawi. My message was that everything must be done to prevent a blood bath, that the security forces must comply with international human rights obligations, and that all parties must show restraint,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
“The Egyptian people have a fundamental right to take part in peaceful demonstrations. The regime, the security forces and the military leaders have a major responsibility for preventing a further exacerbation of the situation.”, said Mr Eide.
There are reports of security forces using armoured vehicles, military bulldozers and live ammunition against demonstrators who have been camping for some time in two central locations in Cairo. They have been protesting against the army’s removal of President Morsi from power and his arrest on 3 July, and the appointment of a new president and government.
“The use of violence against civilian demonstrators is making Egypt’s path towards democracy much harder. Escalating the conflict will not solve any of Egypt’s problems. A broad and inclusive process is vital. A credible enquiry into today’s events in Cairo should be initiated. I am pleased that, in our talk today, the Egyptian Prime Minister indicated that would consider allowing independent human rights organisations to carry out such an enquiry,” said Mr Eide.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently froze export licences for military equipment to Egypt due to the serious situation in the country. Egypt had previously been able to import certain types of military equipment from Norway.
“I am becoming increasingly concerned about the military leaders’ intentions and their willingness to engage in a process of reconciliation and democratisation. Due to the negative developments in the country, Egypt no longer meets the conditions we set for export of military equipment. We will therefore cancel the export licences that were frozen earlier pending further developments,” said Mr Eide.