NEW YORK, August 15 (RIA Novosti) – 15 members of the UN Security Council gathered Thursday for closed-door consultations on the political crisis in Egypt as violence in the most populous Arab country continues to gain momentum despite attempts by the interim government to stabilize the situation.
The meeting, convened at the request of France, Britain and Australia, is reportedly intended to outline a common approach by international community to the crisis, but no statements or resolutions are expected.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has already condemned the new surge of violence in the country, calling on Egypt authorities to “act with full respect for human rights, including guaranteeing the rights to free speech and assembly,” and urging the demonstrators to “to exercise restraint and preserve the peaceful nature of their protests.”
According to an updated report by Egypt’s Health Ministry on Thursday, at least 638 people have been killed and 3,994 injured since security forces moved in early Wednesday on tent camps in Cairo occupied by supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted in July.
The clashes later spread beyond the capital to the cities of Alexandria, Minya, Assiut, Fayoum and Suez, as well as the Buhayra and Beni Suef provinces.
The pro-Morsi movement Muslim Brotherhood said police had used live rounds against civilian protesters and put the death toll at close to 3,000. Police had denied using lethal force.
Egypt’s interim authorities on Wednesday declared a month-long nationwide state of emergency, which includes a nighttime curfew in Cairo and 10 provinces.