“The tragic loss of Egyptian lives takes Egypt further away from the democratic aspirations as expressed by the millions of Egyptian voters last year,” the international relations department said on Thursday.
“The South African government calls on the Egyptian authorities to exercise utmost restraint in dealing with peaceful protests.” It called on that country’s interim authority to end the violence against its own people, investigate unrest-related deaths, and unconditionally release all political detainees.
The department said Egypt had to launch a transition process which would allow for the return to constitutional normalcy and democratic legitimacy. “It is also incumbent on those forces responsible for law and order to protect civilians and prevent further bloodshed in Egypt,” the department said.
An Egyptian-led, inclusive negotiated process remained the only option for the country to move beyond its present impasse. South Africa was ready to help Egypt through sharing its experiences and lessons from the transition from apartheid to democratic rule, the department said.
International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had discussed the situation in Egypt with her peers on the sidelines of the current SADC summit in Malawi.
“Peace and stability in Egypt is crucial to the North African region and the African continent as a whole,” the department said.