EU cuts military aid to Egypt

Aug. 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM   |   Comments

BRUSSELS, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Members of the European Union agreed to suspend export licenses for Egypt for equipment used for "internal repression," the top foreign policy chief said.

Members of the European Union held an extraordinary session Wednesday to assess their relationship with Egypt.

Hundreds of people have died in recent weeks during clashes between supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and the interim military-led government.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said member states were frustrated by the "disproportionate" use of force by pro-government forces. She expressed concern, however, about "acts of terrorism" carried out against Egyptian police in the Sinai Peninsula, where dozens of officers were killed.

Members of the EU said last week they were reviewing the relationship with Egypt given the turmoil under way in the country.

"Member states have agreed to suspend export licenses to Egypt of any equipment used for internal repression," Ashton said Wednesday.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced Tuesday his government suspended ties with Egyptian security forces and revoked a number of export licenses independently from the European Union.

U.S. President Barack Obama last week called off a joint military exercise planned with Egyptian forces to highlight his frustration with the situation.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's political backers, said the July 3 ouster was a military coup. Ashton and her supporters said the only way out of the crisis was through an inclusive political dialogue.

Several Brotherhood members, including Morsi, are behind bars.

Ashton stressed Wednesday the European community was committed to Egypt's democracy and the needs of its people.

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