NEWS

Canada condemns attacks against Christians in Egypt

08/15/2013 01:20 EDT | Updated 10/15/2013 05:12 EDT
The Canadian government is urging Egyptians to show restraint as authorities have authorized police to use deadly force to protect themselves and key state institutions from attacks.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom Andrew Bennett issued a joint statement on Thursday to condemn the ongoing violence against Christians in Egypt.

“We urge all parties to engage in a productive dialogue to ease tensions. We also call on all Egyptians to show maximum restraint and resolve in the coming days," read the statement.

The Canadian government called the attacks on places of worship "unacceptable," following a day of deadly clashes between Egyptian police and supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.

“We are concerned by recent attacks on religious institutions in Egypt, in particular the unconscionable attacks on Coptic Orthodox and Anglican churches and on Baptist and Franciscan institutions," the statement said.

The Canadian government extended its deepest sympathies to the victims of these attacks and called on authorities in Egypt to protect worshippers and religious sites from further violence and intimidation.

U.S. President Barack Obama interrupted his week-long vacation on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts on Thursday to address the rapidly deteriorating situation in Egypt.

"The U.S. strongly condemns the steps taken by Egypt’s military," Obama said.

The U.S. president warned the country to lift a state of emergency and work towards peace or further action could be taken. He also cancelled next month's U.S.-Egypt military exercises.

Canada urged Egyptian authorities to implement "a transparent, democratic system that respects the voices of all Egyptians, including members of all religious communities" as a way to restore calm and give all Egyptians a stake in the future stability and prosperity of their country.

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