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Mubarak ordered released

By Agencies in Brussels, Cairo and Dubai, United Arab Emirates | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-22 07:42

Mubarak ordered released

European ministers to hold talks in response to crisis in Egypt

An Egyptian court ordered the release of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday, a judicial and a security source said, meaning he could leave prison later in the day as there are no longer any legal grounds for his detention.

Mubarak, 85, is being retried on charges of ordering the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that led to his downfall. However, he has already served out the maximum amount of pretrial detention permitted in that case.

Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to prevent the killing of demonstrators. But a court accepted his appeal earlier this year and ordered a retrial.

Meanwhile, Europe looked set to firmly condemn Egypt's blistering violence but stop short of sanctions as EU foreign ministers gathered on Wednesday for crisis talks determined to keep channels open with Cairo.

Almost all 28 European Union foreign ministers are expected at the hastily arranged convention in the middle of Europe's summer break after the deaths of almost 900 people in a week of unrelenting violence.

Ministers will examine a range of options set out by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who remains in close touch with players across the spectrum and who last month was the first foreign official to meet ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in his secret detention center.

Ashton told journalists on the eve of the talks that she was ready to return to help facilitate a political solution to the crisis. "I would be more than willing to go back to Egypt if they wish me to come back," she said.

Among the options ministers will consider are withholding part of the EU's massive aid package or suspending arms deals, as well as military and security cooperation pending a political solution in the Arab nation.

Some EU countries, notably Germany and Italy, have already suspended arms exports. Denmark has cut off funding for development projects run directly with the government or with public institutions.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans urged the EU bloc to stick to its principle of "more aid for more democracy", or as he put it "in this case less-for-less".

As EU leaders talk, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies are backing Egypt's new military leaders, and have already offered to fill any shortfall in finances from Europe and the US.

"To those who have announced they are cutting their aid to Egypt, or threatening to do that, (we say that) Arab and Muslim nations are rich ... and will not hesitate to help Egypt," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Monday.

AFP - Reuters

(China Daily 08/22/2013 page12)

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