US, EU call for quick transition in Egypt

EU calls for independent investigation into violence; White House: solution should be "devised by Egyptians."

Protesters during a march in Tahrir Square in Cairo 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
Protesters during a march in Tahrir Square in Cairo 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
The United States and European Union called for a quick transfer of power to a civilian government in Egypt Friday. The stepped-up rhetoric followed the killing of over 40 civilians at the hands of Egyptian security forces in a week that saw mass protests calling for a handover of power and led the country's caretaker government to resign.
The European Union condemns "excessive violence" against protesters and expects an independent investigation into the events in Cairo, EU foreign policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told a regular news briefing in Brussels.
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"The European Union is deeply concerned about the critical situation in Egypt and condemns the excessive violence committed by the Egyptian authorities against the population," Kocijancic said.
"We urge a swift handover to civilian government and underline the need for democratic transition to be transparent, fair and accountable. The elections must respect the timetable that was announced."
In Washington, White House press secretary Jary Carney urged the Egyptian military, which took power following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak earlier this year, to give way to civilian rule "as soon as possible."
"Full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible," said Carney.
The statement, issued in the early hours of Washington's morning to coincide with the Egyptian day, referenced growing US concern at the week-long violence.
The United States has called repeatedly for restraint on all sides since the violence restarted, and made plain that it now felt compelled to harden its tone.
"But the situation Egypt faces requires a more fundamental solution, devised by Egyptians, which is consistent with universal principles," Carney said, adding "The United States strongly believes that the new Egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately."
The army plans to start parliamentary elections on Monday. Washington said elections should proceed "expeditiously" with "all necessary measures" taken to ensure security and prevent intimidation.
"Egypt has overcome challenges before and will do so again. The United States will continue to stand with the Egyptian people as they build a democracy worthy of Egypt's great history," Carney said.