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EU to impose arms embargo on Egypt

August 19, 2013, 12:19 UTC+3

EU cosiders several options, including banning supplies of lethal weapons and military equipment, source says

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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS archive

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS archive

BRUSSELS, August 19 (Itar-Tass) - The European Union intends to introduce an embargo on delivery of arms, police equipment and dual-use technology to Egypt. A high-ranking diplomatic source in Brussels told Itar-Tass that the EU intends “to send to the Egyptian interim government a maximally clear message - violence must be immediately stopped.”

“At the moment, several options, including a ban on the supply of lethal weapons and military equipment, as well as equipment and tools that can be used for internal repression, are being considered,” said the diplomat.

According to him, the introduction of these restrictions will be discussed at an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers, to be held this week. A technical meeting of 28 members of the EU Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) will be held for the preparation of this meeting in Brussels on Monday. They will exchange views on the levers the EU has to influence the situation in Egypt in the run-up to the ministerial consultations and set a date for them.

The leading countries of the community, including Germany, France, Britain, Italy, have announced cessation of military supplies to Egypt, but there is no general European decision on this matter yet. Europeans have also urged Egypt’s largest military supplier - the United States to stop arms deliveries to this country, but Washington has refused to take that step.

At the same time, the EU so far has no plans to abandon the programs of aid to Egypt, which include the support for the development of the country’s economy and its democratic institutions and civil society. The EU has allocated 449 million euro for these needs in the period from 2011 to 2013. At the moment, the EU countries do not intend to reconsider these programs. Meanwhile, sources say that the allocation of this money might be temporarily frozen or “strictly conditioned by the fulfilment of the key requirements for the restoration of the democratic process in Egypt.” This includes, in particular, the “cessation of all force actions, the release of political prisoners, determining the precise date of political elections, the investigation of deaths of protesters in clashes with the police.”

Last week, all the leaders of the EU institutions, including European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, have already made statements that Brussels intends to “review its relations with Egypt” after the outbreak of violence in the country.

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