Ban raises concern over Morsi ouster with Egypt minister

Ban raises concern over Morsi ouster with Egypt minister

COPENHAGEN - Agence France-Presse
Ban raises concern over Morsi ouster with Egypt minister

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, speaks during the inauguration of the new UN complex in Copenhagen, July 4. AP photo

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon July 4 told Egypt's foreign minister that there must be a "quick return" to civilian rule in the country after the military ousted elected President Mohamed Morsi, a spokeswoman said.

Ban also renewed international criticism of the military action against Egypt's first freely elected leader when he held talks with Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, said UN spokeswoman Eri Kaneko.

Ban, who is on a visit to Copenhagen, "expressed deep concern about military intervention into civilian and constitutional affairs," said Kaneko.

"He stressed the need for a quick return to civilian rule in Egypt based on a clear roadmap for elections," the spokeswoman added.

The U.N. secretary-general also called on Egyptian authorities "to protect the fundamental human rights of all Egyptians, including freedom of speech and assembly.

End of sexual violence

"He also called for an end to all violence, especially sexual violence against women." Ban said there had to be "a peaceful dialogue that includes all parts of Egypt's political spectrum to find a way forward," said the spokeswoman.

"The secretary general underscored the U.N.'s support for an Egyptian government fully accountable to the Egyptian people and supportive of Egyptian aspirations." Earlier, Ban told reporters in the Danish capital that his message would be that there must be a speedy return to civilian rule after the military acted against Morsi on July 3.

"It is a volatile situation (and) it is not clear where we are heading," Ban told journalists.

He said Egyptians needed to find "common ground to move forward" without "any threats or harassment and (while) protecting the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly." World leaders have united to call for a return to democracy in Egypt, but many have stopped short of condemning the overthrow of the Islamist leader.

U.S. President Barack Obama was among those who shied away from calling the events a coup while urging a quick return to elected civilian government.