4 July 2013

Egypt: Inclusive Dialogue Key to Overcoming Crisis in Egypt - UN Chief

Reactions to military the takeover in Egypt have been pouring in from around the world. Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor Wood reports. ( Resource: Coup in Egypt Generates Mixed Reactions

Appealing once again to the people of Egypt to exercise restraint and pursue inclusive dialogue, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed serious concern about "military interference" in the political crisis gripping the country.

"At this moment of continued high tension and uncertainty in the country, I reiterate my appeals for calm, non-violence, dialogue and restraint," Mr. Ban said during a joint press conference in Copenhagen with Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark.

The Secretary-General has been traveling through Europe this week and is in the Danish capital to participate in the opening of UN City, "a cutting-edge, environmentally friendly hub" for eight of the Organization's agency's working in the country.

At the opening ceremony earlier today, Mr. Ban thanked the people and Government of Denmark for their contribution and long-standing support, hailing the new complex as an important contribution to a more efficient, carbon neutral UN.

"From the rows of parked bicycles to the wind turbines out to sea, I see proof that we can tackle the climate challenges that face us," he said, adding further: "From solar panels to seawater cooling and external metal blinds to regulate light and heat, UN City shows what can be achieved."

During a press conference that followed, Mr. Ban recalled the statement issued last night by his spokesman in New York on the current situation in Egypt, where massive nationwide protests against the Government of Mohamed Morsy have sparked a political crisis.

According to media reports, the Egyptian military, which had earlier in the week given the opposing parties 48 hours to resolve their differences, has since deposed Mr. Morsy, suspended the Constitution and paved they way for an interim Government.

The UN chief said that in their protests, many Egyptians voiced deep frustrations and legitimate concerns.

"At the same time, military interference in the affairs of any State is of serious concern and is not consistent with fundamental democratic principles," he said, adding: "Therefore, it will be crucial to quickly reinforce civilian rule in accordance with principles of democracy."

"We are following closely, and with continuing concern, the fast-moving developments in Egypt," the Secretary-General said, stressing that an inclusive approach is essential to addressing the needs and concerns of all Egyptians.

"I think one key to a successful resolution of this crisis is inclusivity and any discussions, dialogue or governing bodies should include representatives from the wide spectrum of Egyptian politics," Mr. Ban said.

The UN chief said that during their talks on a range of issues, he and Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt both expressed deep concern about the "raging war" in Syria.

"There can be no military solution to this tragic conflict," he said, adding that the UN continues to press for a political solution while providing life-saving humanitarian relief to millions of Syrians.

At the same time, the international community must maintain a strong focus on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "The UN will do all it can to support peace and the realization of the two state solution. Only a comprehensive peace will provide lasting security to all people in the region," the Secretary-General said.

He and the Prime Minister also exchanged views on Afghanistan, where the people are in the midst of a political, economic and security transition. "This is a huge challenge for any country," Mr. Ban said, stressing that those transitions must be approached holistically and based on predictable support.

"I am grateful for Denmark's ongoing contribution to Afghanistan on both security and civilian development," he said.

Regarding development matters, the Secretary-General said the two leaders had also focused on how to continue working closely together to promote sustainable development, including sustainable energy and a green growth economy and global education.

"And I very much appreciate the leadership and participation of Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt, as one of the very few world champions for education and I count on her leadership on this."

He looked forward to Denmark's continued engagement as the international community works to define an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.

In addition, he commended Ms. Thorning-Schmidt for her strong support and leadership in all matters, including Global Education First Initiative and energy initiative and climate change financing and all these matters.

Finally, he congratulated Denmark for its formidable leadership in gender equality and women's empowerment.

"All of my activities here have reconfirmed my conviction that the United Nations has a trusted partner and a great champion in Denmark," the Secretary-General concluded.

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