EU's Ashton urges Europe to agree 'appropriate measures' on Egypt

EU's Ashton urges Europe to agree 'appropriate measures' on Egypt

BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
EUs Ashton urges Europe to agree appropriate measures on Egypt

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton attends a news conference with Egypt's interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo on July 30. REUTERS photo

The European Union's top diplomat Catherine Ashton on Aug. 16 said she had asked the 28-nation bloc to agree "appropriate measures" in response to escalating violence in Egypt.

"The toll of death and injury is shocking," she said in a statement. "I have asked member state representatives to debate and coordinate appropriate measures to be taken by the European Union in response to the situation in Egypt." The EU has said top officials from its 28 members will meet Aug. 19 to review the crisis in Egypt, notably looking at convening a meeting of EU foreign ministers as soon as possible.

Egypt has faced growing international condemnation since around 600 people were killed in clashes on Aug. 14 as police broke up protest camps of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

In a statement earlier on Aug. 16 French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the spectre of the EU rethinking its cooperation with Egyptian authorities, as at least 12 people were killed in fresh violence.

They also called for the EU's foreign ministers to meet as soon as next week "to take stock of cooperation between the European Union and Egypt, and to develop common responses." Ashton said responsibility for the "tragedy" taking place in Egypt in the last days "weighs heavily on the interim government, as well as on the wider political leadership in the country."