EU to Suspend Export of Military Equipment to Egypt
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - EU member states announced they will suspend the export of military equipment to Egypt following a violent crackdown by the security forces on supporters of deposed president Mohamed Mursi.
The move falls short of a full embargo on the sale of weapons that several countries believed would have put more pressure on Egypt’s army-backed government to end an escalation in violence that has so far claimed more than 900 lives.
European foreign ministers at an emergency meeting in Brussels on Wednesday also agreed to review financial aid programmes with Egypt but gave assurances that humanitarian support would continue, FT reported.
“We have agreed . . . to review the issue of our assistance to Egypt with the understanding that assistance to the most vulnerable groups and to civil society must continue,” said Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief.
“Member states also agreed to suspend export licences to Egypt for any equipment which might be used for internal repression and . . . review their security assistance with Egypt,” Ms Ashton added.
The suspension of “export licences” means that EU companies will not be allowed to sell a range of military equipment, including batons, ammunition and tear gas, said two EU officials after the meeting.
Ahead of Wednesday’s emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, it emerged that Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands were among the countries that pushed for an outright ban on the export of weapons to Egypt.
European officials also said that freezing monetary support would predominantly harm the country’s poorest, while the regime could still count on the financial help promised by Saudi Arabia, which has officially pledged support to the army-backed rulers.
The EU in November pledged a total of €5bn in grants and loans to Egypt for a series of initiatives and projects on condition that democratic reform was implemented. A small fraction of the overall sum has been disbursed.