German and France have called for urgent consultations with other European Union countries to discuss the ongoing crisis in Egypt. Both have condemned this week's deadly clashes.
Following a telephone conversation on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande called for the foreign ministers of the European Union's 28 states to meet next week to discuss the situation in Egypt.
A statement released by the Elysee Palace in Paris said the foreign ministers should use the talks to "take stock of cooperation between the European Union and Egypt, and to develop common responses."
It also said the two leaders had "called for an immediate end to the violence."
Hollande was planning to speak with British Prime Minister David Cameron later in the day.
The European Union's foreign policy coordinator, Catherine Ashton, had already said that she had called a separate meeting of top EU diplomats for Monday.
All this comes a day after Berlin, Paris and London each summoned the respective Egyptian ambassadors to protest against Wednesday's violence, in which hundreds of people were killed.
Late on Thursday, the United Nations Security council also called on all of the parties to exercise maximum restraint.
"The view of Council members is that it is important to end violence in Egypt," Argentine UN Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval said after a meeting at UN headquarters in New York.
Berlin calls for restraint
Earlier on Friday, Chancellor Merkel's spokesman used his regular press conference to urge all parties in Egypt to exercise restraint.
"The political and military leadership of Egypt along with the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood now carry great responsibility," Stefan Seibert said. "Further escalations could plunge Egypt into a chaos of violence and counter-violence and further escalation."
German development work to continue
Meanwhile, Germany's development minister, Dirk Niebel, told Deutsche Welle TV that Berlin had no plans to turn its back on current projects in Egypt.
Niebel said the development projects in Egypt that his ministry is involved in directly benefited the people, as opposed to the government. He said programs that did directly benefit the Egyptian government, such as the restructuring of debt, had been cancelled prior to this week's violence.
Meanwhile, the German Foreign Office has extended a warning against travel to Egypt.
A spokesperson in Berlin said the warning against travel to Egypt now not only applied to Cairo, the north Sinai region and the Israeli border area, but also to tourist resorts on the Red Sea around Hurghada and Sharm-el-Sheik
pfd/mz (dpa, EPD, KNA, AFP)
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