UAE, Bahrain defend Egypt’s assault on Morsi supporters

DUBAI, Aug 15, 2013 (AFP)

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have separately voiced support for a deadly assault by Egypt’s security forces on Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, saying it was the state’s duty to restore order.

The Emirati foreign ministry affirmed in a late Wednesday statement its “understanding of the sovereign measures taken by the Egyptian government after it had practised maximum self-restraint during the preceding period.”

The Gulf state, where dozens of Islamists have been jailed for plotting to overthrow the regime, criticised what it said was the “insistence of political extremism groups to make speeches of violence and incitement… that led to (Wednesday’s) sad events.”

It urged national reconciliation and consensus, in the statement carried by the official WAM news agency.

Egyptian officials have given a tally of 343 people killed in Wednesday’s crackdown by the security forces on two protest camps set up in Cairo by Morsi’s supporters to demand his reinstatement, as well as in countrywide clashes sparked by the action.

The UAE has since last year rounded up more than a dozen Egyptians, straining its relations with the government of now-ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

Another Gulf state, Bahrain, which is facing an uprising led by the Shiite majority against the Sunni regime, said that the “measures taken by Egyptian authorities to restore peace and stability were to protect the rights of the Egyptian citizen, which the state is obliged to do.”

It also urged dialogue to enable Egypt “regain its leading role in the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

Both Gulf countries, alongside Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, had welcomed the July 3 ouster by the army of Morsi, Egypt’s first elected leader since an Arab Spring uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Following Morsi’s ouster, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait pledged a combined total of $12 million in aid to support Egypt’s faltering economy.

Qatar, a key supporter of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has strongly condemned Wednesday’s crackdown in Cairo on protest camps set up by Morsi’s supporters.

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