European Union to review relations with Egypt

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Brussels, Aug 19: The European Union (EU) has decided to "urgently review" its relations with Egypt in the coming days and urge the Egyptian interim government and military to respect human rights and release political prisoners, Xinhua reported.

The appeal was made Sunday in a joint statement of the European Council's President, Herman Van Rompuy, and European Commission's President Jose Manuel Barroso.

It said the EU, together with its member states, would adopt measures aiming to put an end to Egyptian violence, resumption of political dialogue and return to a democratic process.

"While all should exert maximum restraint, we underline the particular responsibility of the interim authorities and of the army in bringing clashes to a halt. The violence and the killings of these last days cannot be justified nor condoned," the joint statement said.

"Human rights must be respected and upheld. Political prisoners should be released."

"There is no alternative to dialogue. All the Egyptian political forces must recommit to the country's democratic future and engage in a political process leading to the early holding of elections and the establishment of a civilian government," it added.

The EU stated that in cooperation with its international and regional partners, it would remain firmly engaged in efforts to promote an end to violence, resumption of political dialogue and return to a democratic process.

"To this effect, together with its Member States, the EU will urgently review in the coming days its relations with Egypt and adopt measures aimed at pursuing these goals."

Top officials from EU's 28 members will meet Monday to review the Egyptian crisis.

IANS

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