EU foreign ministers weigh Egypt aid, policy at emergency talks

By REUTERS
August 21, 2013 03:01

BRUSSELS- European Union governments will debate on Wednesday how to use their economic muscle to force Egypt's army-backed rulers to end a crackdown on deposed President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

There may be little they can do to inflict hardship on Cairo by cutting back on aid, because much of their cash goes to civil society groups, not the government, and Saudi Arabia has pledged to plug any shortfall if support is stopped.

But Europe's approach will be closely watched by all sides in Egypt's worst internal strife in its modern history, since the EU has emerged as a key mediator in the conflict.

The bloc's 28 governments are likely to tread carefully, mixing expressions of concern over bloodshed, with limited - if any - changes in the 5 billion euro ($6.7 billion) aid package Europe promised to Egypt last year, diplomats said.


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