New York

14 August 2013

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Egypt

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the violence today in Cairo that occurred when Egyptian security services used force to clear Cairo of sit-ins and demonstrations.  While the UN is still gathering precise information about today's events, it appears that hundreds of people were killed or wounded in clashes between security forces and demonstrators.  

Just days ago, the Secretary-General renewed his call for all sides in Egypt to reconsider their actions in light of new political realities and the imperative to prevent further loss of life.  The Secretary-General regrets that Egyptian authorities chose instead to use force to respond to the ongoing demonstrations.  He conveys his condolences to the families of those killed and his wishes for a full and speedy recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General is well aware that the vast majority of the Egyptian people, weary of disruptions to normal life caused by demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, want their country to go forward peacefully in an Egyptian-led process towards prosperity and democracy.  In the aftermath of today's violence, the Secretary-General urges all Egyptians to concentrate their efforts on promoting genuinely inclusive reconciliation.  While recognizing that political clocks do not run backwards, the Secretary-General also believes firmly that violence and incitement from any side are not the answers to the challenges Egypt faces.

With Egypt's rich history and diversity of views and experiences, it is not unusual for Egyptians to disagree on the best approach forward.  What is important, in the Secretary-General's view, is that differing views be expressed respectfully and peacefully.  To the Secretary-General's regret, that is not what happened today.