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Hague calls for post-coup restraint

William Hague has called for restraint in Egypt after President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a military coup.

The Foreign Secretary said the UK does not support military intervention and warned British citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to the country - apart from the Red Sea resorts - as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets all over the North African state.

Earlier Mr Morsi, who was in power for a year after becoming Egypt's first democratically elected president, denounced the "full coup" as a temporary civilian government was installed, the constitution was suspended and new elections were called for by the armed forces.

Mr Hague said: "The situation is clearly dangerous and we call on all sides to show restraint and avoid violence. We continue to advise British citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Egypt apart from the Red Sea resorts, and to monitor travel advice from the Foreign Office. The United Kingdom does not support military intervention as a way to resolve disputes in a democratic system."

Television pictures showed anti-Morsi protesters setting off flares and fireworks in Tahrir Square, the epicentre for the uprising against the previous leader Hosni Mubarak. Mr Morsi stressed his legitimacy as an elected president and in a statement on Twitter he said the military's measures "represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation".

Mr Hague added: "The chance of a democratic future was hard won for Egypt by the Egyptian people two and a half years ago. But looking forward, we call on all parties to show the leadership and vision needed to restore and renew Egypt's democratic transition. It is vital for them to respond to the strong desire of the Egyptian people for faster economic and political progress for their country. In our view this must involve a political process that includes all groups on an equal footing leading to early and fair elections which all parties are able to contest, and civilian-led government."

Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood party, later said Mr Morsi was under house arrest at a Presidential Guard building where he had been living. Twelve presidential aides were also under house arrest.

The army took control of state media and blacked out TV stations operated by the Muslim Brotherhood. The head of the Brotherhood's political wing was arrested.

Earlier, David Cameron issued a plea for an end to violence in Egypt as the political unrest continued to grip the country. The Prime Minister told the House of Commons that the administration of Mr Morsi must show it was responsive to the concerns of its citizens. Mr Cameron assured MPs that action was being taken to safeguard UK nationals in Egypt and the British embassy in Cairo. "These are deeply disturbing scenes, the level of violence is appalling," said the Prime Minister. "We should appeal to all sides to calm and stop the levels of violence, and particularly sexual assaults."

The FCO is advising against travel to all regions of Egypt except resorts on the Red Sea in South Sinai and in the Red Sea Governorate on the Egyptian mainland. There are no travel restriction warnings for destinations in the region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab which are popular with sun-seeking British tourists. The FCO also deems safe the St Catherine's Monastery World Heritage Site, road travel between and from Red Sea resorts to the monastery approaching from the east, and transfers between the resorts and airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh.


From Belfast Telegraph