Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly condemned the attacks on churches, hospitals and public facilities in Egypt, stressing this is unacceptable, and appealed to authorities to contain violence and revive the political process immediately.
"The Secretary-General believes that preventing further loss of life should be the Egyptians' highest priority at this dangerous moment," Mr. Ban's spokesperson said in a statement. "He urges those in the street and those in authority to use maximum restraint and shift immediately to de-escalation."
According to media reports, Egyptian security forces clashed with supporters of former President Mohamed Morsy in a central Cairo mosque, where scores of Muslim Brotherhood protesters had sought refuge from the violence that has resulted in more than 500 deaths and thousands of injuries over the past four days.
"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," the statement said.
Mr. Ban underlined that time is of the essence and called 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," the statement read.
Mr. Ban also appealed to authorities and political leaders to "adopt a credible plan to contain the violence and revive the political process hijacked by violence."
Egypt has been undergoing a democratic transition following the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak two years ago in the wake of mass protests. Last month, renewed protests - in which dozens of people were killed and wounded - led to the Egyptian military deposing Mr. Morsy. The Constitution was then suspended and an interim government set up.