UN's Ban warns Egyptians against 'retribution' tactics

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Friday warned Egyptians against adopting "retribution tactics" in the country's worsening political crisis and called on security forces to prevent clashes, a spokesman said.

For Egypt's troubles to be settled peacefully "there is no place for retribution or for the exclusion of any major party or community," Mr Ban was quoted as saying by UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

Mr Ban is following "with growing concern the latest developments in the unfolding crisis in Egypt" including detentions and "worrying reports" about restrictions on free speech and deadly clashes between protesters.

"There are horrifying reports of sexual violence," Mr Ban was quoted as saying. He called on Egyptian security forces "to protect demonstrators and prevent violent clashes," said Haq.

Mr Ban also said demonstrations should be "exclusively by peaceful means." Mr Ban believes Egypt is at "a critical juncture" and must now chart a peaceful return to civilian, democratic governance, said the spokesman.

"Egypt's political leaders have a responsibility to signal, by their words and their actions, their commitment to a peaceful and democratic dialogue which includes all of Egypt's constituencies, including women," he added.

Any solution must respect "the full diversity of Egyptian political views.

The secretary general notes that, for such a process to succeed, there is no place for retribution or for the exclusion of any major party or community." Mr Ban said he wanted a "strong partnership with Egypt to support a peaceful transition to a representative and democratic governance," according to the spokesman.

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