Thursday, April 24, 2014

Egypt’s Vice President El Baradei resigns

Published:

Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian Nobelist and ex-UN diplomat, supported the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by Egypt’s army.

El Baradei announced his resignation on Wednesday.

Egypt’s acting vice president, Mohammed El Baradei, has announced his resignation in protest against a brutal crackdown by the army-backed government that left more than 100 people dead.

Egypt’s health ministry said 149 people were killed on Wednesday in a bloody assault against hundreds of thousands of who held sit-ins to demand the reinstatement of Mohammed Morsi, who was sacked by the army on July 3.

But the Muslim Brotherhood, which was behind the protests, says more than 2,000 died.

Emergency order has been imposed in many parts of Egypt, to begin from 8pm local time.

Mr. El Baradei, a Nobel Peace laureate said he stepped down from the interim government because he “cannot continue in shouldering the responsibility for decisions I do not agree with and I fear their consequences.”

“I cannot shoulder the responsibility for a single drop of blood,” he said in a statement.

His resignation is seen as a big blow to Egypt’s interim government which forced Mr. Morsi out with the support of Mr. El Baradei.

Reports say he favored more negotiation and dialogue to any use of force, and threw in the towel after his opinion was repeatedly ignored by the military-backed government.

The scale of violence on Wednesday seemed most bloody since the removal of Mr. Morsi and drew widespread condemnations around the world.

The government said the decision to storm the sit-ins was taken because the “security and order of the nation face danger due to deliberate sabotage, and attacks on public and private buildings and the loss of life by extremist groups.”

World Reaction (Source AP):

UNITED STATES

The White House condemned the violence, saying it will only make it more difficult for Egypt to move forward.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the violence runs counter to the pledges made by Egypt’s interim government. He said the “world is watching” what is happening in Cairo and urged restraint.

The Obama administration has avoided making a determination on whether Morsi’s ouster was a coup.

TURKEY

Turkey’s government, which has been consistently critical of the military-backed ouster of Morsi, harshly criticized the crackdown. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office called the violence “a serious blow to the hopes of a return to democracy.” It also blamed other unnamed countries for encouraging the government after Morsi’s ouster on July 3.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned that Egypt could descend into chaos, comparing the clashes to the crackdown in Syria that precipitated a civil war.

Turkey itself has been criticized in recent months for heavy-handed police tactics in clamping down on protests against Erdogan’s government that included firing tear gas canisters directly at protesters.

Hundreds of Turks in Ankara and Istanbul protested against the crackdown in Egypt.

UNITED NATIONS

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon denounced the violence and called on all sides to reconsider their actions in light of new political realities and the need to prevent further loss of life.

Ban said he regrets that Egyptian authorities chose to use force to respond to the demonstrations and is “well aware that the vast majority of the Egyptian people want their country to go forward peacefully in an Egyptian-led process towards prosperity and democracy,” according to a statement from his office.

Ban urged all Egyptians to focus on reconciliation, the statement said, because he believes that “violence and incitement from any side are not the answers to the challenges Egypt faces.”

GERMANY

German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, said the government was “extremely worried” about the “very dangerous” escalation of violence, indirectly criticizing the leadership for its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood while at the same time urging an end to violence.

“We expect from the transitional government and the Egyptian authorities that they allow peaceful demonstrations just as we expect from the other political forces that they distance themselves clearly from violence, that they don’t demand violence and don’t act violently.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the “decisive principle” must be “that the human rights of all Egyptians, independent of their political direction and conviction, have to be respected and protected.”

JORDAN

Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood has urged its Egyptian peers to continue protests, saying their victory will help the fundamentalist group rise to power elsewhere in the Arab world.

The Brotherhood’s political arm, the Islamic Action Front, also warned Egypt’s military rulers they have fallen into a “conspiracy” hatched by the U.S. and Israel to weaken Muslims.

“Today is your day, and upon its outcome, the future of Egypt, Arabs and Muslims will be determined,” according to a statement issued before Brotherhood activists staged a protest outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman.

The protesters rebuked Egypt’s military rulers as a “tool for corrupt and tyrant military regimes.”

BRITAIN

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the violence is “not going to solve anything.”

“What is required in Egypt is a genuine transition to a genuine democracy. That means compromise from all sides – the President Morsi supporters but also the military – that’s what needs to happen,” he said.

“We don’t support this violence, we condemn it completely, it’s not going to solve the problems.”

Cameron added that he was sorry to hear about the death of Sky news cameraman Mick Deane in the violence, saying his thoughts are with Deane’s family and friends.

“It is an incredibly brave and important job he was doing. It is essential that cameramen are in places like Egypt because otherwise none of us would know what is happening.”

IRAN

Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned the crackdown, warning the violence “strengthens the possibility of civil war.”

“While denouncing the violent crackdown and condemning the massacre of the people, it expresses its deep concern regarding the undesirable consequences” of the events, the ministry said in a statement.

ITALY

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino appealed to all sides in Egypt to do what they can to immediately stop the explosion of violence and “avoid a bloodbath.”

Bonino expressed deep sorrow for the loss of human lives.

“I had expressed the hope that the squares with the sit-ins be emptied” through an agreement among all sides, and “not with the intervention of police forces, which doesn’t help the search for a solution to the political crisis,” Bonino said.

She added that it was essential that security forces “exercise maximum self-control; likewise, everyone must avoid every incitement to violence.” Bonino renewed an appeal for the resumption of a “process of national dialogue.”

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