EU suspends weapon sales to Egypt over crackdown
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton talks to the press prior to an extraordinary EU Foreign Affairs Council on August 21, 2013 at the European Headquarters in Brussels. (AFP)
European Union foreign ministers agreed on Wednesday to suspend the sale of security equipment and arms to Egypt that could be used for internal repression.
The 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the ministers strongly condemned the disproportionate use of force by the Egyptian security forces but also violence by some of those opposed to the authorities.
“We strongly condemn all acts of violence and we do believe the recent actions of the military have been disproportionate,” Ashton told a news conference at the close of a four-hour meeting between the ministers.
Clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi have killed hundreds of people since last week.
The EU ministers stopped short of halting aid programs for fear of hitting ordinary citizens.
“We will review assistance to Egypt but assistance to the most needy will remain,” Ashton added.
“All member states feel very strongly they want to continue to support the people of Egypt.”
The ministers had agreed to suspend export licenses to Egypt for any equipment which could be used for internal repression and to reassess arms export licenses and review their security assistance with Egypt, according to AFP.