United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his alarm and concern over the ongoing violence in Egypt in a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York City on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, Ban addressed the recent attacks that have left hundreds of dead.
“I strongly condemn attacks on churches, hospitals and other public facilities. There is no justification for targeting civilians or destroying infrastructure and property so important for Egypt’s future.
“Preventing further loss of life should be the highest priority. I urge all Egyptians to exercise maximum restraint and resolve differences peacefully,” said Ban.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman was dispatched to Cairo on Tuesday to facilitate reconciliatory dialogue. Feltman, who will be at the Arab League on Wednesday, will hold “wide-ranging discussion” which will focus on how the UN can best support the peace process in Egypt.
“The purpose of Mr. Feltman’s visit is to hold discussions with a range of interlocutors, and to listen to a diversity of viewpoints about the situation and the way forward,” said Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Ban. “He will be listening to Egyptians views and he will be conveying the UN’s concerns and our support for support for dialogue and a peaceful and inclusive path to resolving the crisis that meets the aspirations of the Egyptian people.”
While the UN is seeking an immediate resolution to the crisis in Egypt, Nesirky stressed that it’s ultimately up to Egyptians to find the solution without outside interference.
“It is not possible to carry in solutions from the outside. Egyptians must come up with the solutions to this crisis, and they must move urgently to do so.
“What the international community can do is to understand the situation and to strongly support and encourage peaceful solutions and reconciliation. The United Nations remains ready to support the Egyptian people’s efforts in any way that is deemed helpful,” said Nesirky.
In a separate statement issued on Monday by the Secretary General’s spokesman, Ban strongly condemned the attack in Sinai on Sunday that killed 25 police officers, expressing “hope that the perpetrators will be swiftly identified and brought to justice.”
In the same statement, Ban said he is “deeply disturbed” by the separate incident on Sunday that left 36 prisoners in police custody dead. According to the Ministry of Interior, the prisoners suffocated to death from tear gas while attempting to escape a police van during a prison transfer. Ban has called for a full investigation of the incident, and has urged the Egyptian government allow the deployment of UN human rights officers.
Held every August 19, World Humanitarian Day commemorates those who have lost their lives in the line of duty while working for humanitarian causes.