UK suspends military export licenses to Egypt

More than 1,000 people, including 100 police and soldiers, have been killed in Egypt since July 3 [Reuters]
Britain has suspended 49 export licences to Egypt, saying it wanted to prevent British military goods being used in the unrest that has led to civilian deaths in the Arab country.

London has already taken action to restrict exports to Egypt, last month withdrawing five licences for goods such as components for armoured fighting infantry vehicles, communication equipment for tanks and machine gun parts.

Wednesday’s suspension, which applies to licences for the Egyptian army, air force and internal security forces, covers a range of equipment, including spares for helicopters and aircraft, specialist software and communications equipment.

“As a result of the developing situation in Egypt, we have agreed with EU partners in this instance to go further and suspend all export licences for goods which might be used for internal repression,” Business Secretary Vince Cable said in a statement.

“By acting together, we want to send a clear signal that we condemn all violence in Egypt.”

More than 1,000 people, including about 100 police and soldiers, have been killed since the army deposed President Mohamed Morsi on July 3 in the worst internal violence in Egypt’s recent history.

Most died when the security forces dispersed two pro-Morsi protest camps on August 14.

The suspension will be kept under review until “conditions in Egypt indicate that it is appropriate to lift these restrictions”, Cable’s statement added.

Last week, the European Union stopped short of agreeing to immediate cuts in financial or military assistance to Cairo when the bloc’s foreign ministers held emergency talks to find ways to help bring an end to violence in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s authorities continued with their crackdown on the country’s Muslim Brotherhood, and detained more than 60 people associated with the group in less than 24 hours, including relatives of the group’s leaders.

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