New York

17 August 2013

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

The Secretary-General is alarmed by ongoing developments in Egypt and the widespread outbreak of violent protests and excessive use of force in handling them. He strongly condemns attacks on churches, hospitals, and other public facilities, which he finds unacceptable. Whatever the grievances, there is no justification for destruction of infrastructure and property so important to Egypt's future. The Secretary-General believes that preventing further loss of life should be the Egyptians' highest priority at this dangerous moment. He urges those in the street and those in authority to use maximum restraint and shift immediately to de-escalation. He appeals to the authorities and to the political leaders to adopt a credible plan to contain the violence and revive the political process hijacked by violence. Time is of the essence.

The Secretary-General has noted already that political clocks move only forward, not backwards. He calls on all Egyptians to resolve their differences peacefully in the interest of moving forward. With such sharp polarization in Egyptian society, both the authorities and the political leaders share the responsibility for ending the current violence.