EU Ready to Work 'Closely' with New Egyptian President

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

The European Union said Thursday it was ready to work "closely" with newly elected Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi but urged him to ensure his government respected human rights and the rule of law.

A former general, Sisi won nearly 97 percent of the vote in last week's polls, nearly a year after he toppled Egypt's first freely elected leader, Islamist Mohammed Morsi.

Rights groups allege that gross human rights violations have taken place since Morsi's ouster, with more than 1,400 people killed in a government crackdown targeting the Brotherhood and over 15,000 jailed.

In a statement the EU expressed its "willingness to work closely with the new authorities in Egypt in a constructive partnership with a view to strengthening our bilateral relations."

It outlined the "serious challenges" facing the country -- a "dire economic situation, the deep divisions within society, the security situation, and the respect of the human rights of all Egyptian citizens."

The EU said Egypt's new constitution enshrined a wide series of fundamental rights, but these were not always respected. 

This must be remedied for a true democracy to take root, it said, expressing concern at the continued detention of "members of peaceful civil society, political opposition and activists," and demanding journalists be allowed to operate freely.

Earlier Thursday, Egyptian prosecutors demanded jail sentences of up to 25 years for all 20 defendants in the trial of Al-Jazeera journalists accused of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

The authorities should also review the hundreds of death sentences imposed on political opponents in mass trials, the EU statement said.

Expressing the hope that President Sisi would meet these obligations, the EU said it was ready to support his efforts to stabilize the economy and improve good governance.

Washington has also said it looks forward to working with Sisi while expressing similar concerns about Egypt's future.

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