Swiss hope for political solution in Egypt
The Swiss foreign ministry says it has taken note of the appointment of Hazem el-Beblawi as interim prime minister in Egypt and hopes this decision “confirms the intention to strive for a political and comprehensive solution”.
Following continued violent clashes between different groups of demonstrators and between demonstrators and security forces, the ministry called on Wednesday on all political actors in Egypt “to assume their responsibilities, commit to peaceful forms of political expression and oppose all use of force”.
In a statement, the ministry said it particularly regretted the large number of deaths and casualties and offered its condolences to the victims’ families.
It added that it expected Egypt’s political leaders and security forces to ensure that human rights were fully protected and that no arrests would be made on political grounds.
“Switzerland supports all appropriate measures that help to overcome the political polarisation, promote open cross-party dialogue and enable a swift return to a democratic transformation process,” said the statement.
The foreign ministry now recommends that tourists should limit themselves to the seaside resorts on the Red Sea.
It advises against tourist or other non-urgent visits to Cairo or to large towns such as Alexandria, Port Said, Suez or Ismailia. Popular destinations Luxor and Aswan are now also considered no-go areas.
“Caution should be exercised by visitors to all parts of the country, and demonstrations and large gatherings of any kind should be avoided,” is the ministry’s advice.
Swiss nationals who get into difficulties abroad can contact the foreign ministry helpline (0041 800 24 73 65). At the beginning of 2011, a total of 1,573 Swiss were living in Egypt, according to the foreign ministry.
Hazem el-Beblawi, a 76-year-old economist and former finance minister, on Wednesday reached for liberals to revive a shattered economy as he began forming a government to heal a nation bitterly divided by bloodshed a week after the elected president was overthrown.
Egyptians hoped the start of the Ramadan Muslim fasting month would cool passions that have raised animosity to a level unseen in the modern history of the most populous Arab state.
Beblawi was named prime minister by the military-backed interim head of state installed after the army removed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi from office.
Thousands of Mursi supporters have been holding a vigil near a mosque in northeast Cairo for a week, demanding his reinstatement. At least 55 of them were killed on Monday in the worst violence in more than a year, when troops opened fire near a barracks where his supporters believe he is being held.
The brotherhood says victims were peacefully praying; the army says terrorists provoked shooting by attacking its troops.
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