EU's lips wide shut on Morsi

The European Union has refused to make an explicit call for the release of the first freely elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, despite similar calls by Germany, an EU heavyweight, and the US, the strongest ally and creditor of Egypt.
Maja Kocijancic, the spokeswoman for High Representative Catherine Ashton, was asked by Today's Zaman if the EU would follow Germany and US to call for the release of President Morsi. Avoiding answering the question directly, Kocijancic said Ashton's statement on Sunday was pretty clear and agreed on by all 28 members states, calling for all political prisoners to be released.
In a lengthy statement on Sunday, Ashton said: “The EU urges the interim authorities to make every effort so that politically motivated arrests and other forms of harassments do not take place. All political detainees must be released, and criminal cases reviewed swiftly in a transparent manner.”
When it was pointed out several times that the problem with the statement was that there was no specific reference to President Morsi, Kocijancic said she would not be able to “go beyond that.”
The US State Department on Friday agreed with a German call for deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military on July 3, to be released. Asked if the United States agreed with the German Foreign Ministry's call for Morsi to be released, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, "We do agree."
There were also questions raised about part of the statement of Ashton on Sunday that called for a rapid return to “legitimate government.” Asked whether the EU has now declared the Egyptian interim government “illegitimate” or not, Kocijancic argued that the statement was pretty clear and was an answer to all the questions.
In Sunday's statement Ashton said: "The EU is following the recent developments in Egypt with deep concern. The military must accept and respect the constitutional authority of the civilian power as a basic principle of democratic governance. It is of utmost importance that Egypt returns rapidly to
a legitimate government and democratic structures responding to the democratic and socioeconomic aspirations of the Egyptian people. The EU stresses in particular the importance of holding democratic elections in the shortest possible time.”
After Ashton's statement, observers noted that there was a gradual hardening of the EU position on military rule in Egypt as the statement implied that the EU declared the interim government as "illegitimate." However, Kocijancic neither confirmed nor denied the comments on the “illegitimacy” comments.

, , ,


Write Down Your Responses