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UN: Egypt needs 'maximum restraint'

The UN Security Council is calling on both the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise "maximum restraint" and end the violence spreading across the country.

Council members called for national reconciliation, expressed regret at the loss of life and sent sympathy to the victims.

Argentina's UN ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, the current council president, expressed the views of council members following an emergency briefing by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on Egypt's violence.

The meeting came after Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the West of ignoring the violence and called on the Security Council to meet urgently to discuss the situation.

Britain, France and Australia, all council members, jointly requested the council meeting.

UN diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity earlier, said they did not expect the council to issue a statement or adopt a resolution.

Whether the council takes any action in the future is uncertain. Russia and China traditionally oppose Security Council involvement in the domestic affairs of a country, partly because of sensitivity over disputes in their own countries, including in Chechnya and Tibet.

Argentina has condemned "the brutal repression against popular protests that won the streets of the main cities of Egypt". It urged authorities to "totally and immediately cease the spiral of violence loosed in recent days against unarmed citizens".

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