Over 300 hundred people were killed in raids on demonstrators yesterday. Photo: Mosaab El-Shamy/Scanpix

Sweden: Aid to Egypt will continue

There are no plans to halt Swedish development assistance to Egypt, despite the latest unrest where over 500 people were killed after soldiers opened fire on protesters, news agency TT reports.

Swedish aid to Egypt has increased since 2011, with most of the money funding projects to promote democracy and human rights. Sweden gave the North African country SEK 57 million last year.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says he is concerned by the developments in Cairo. He told TT, "There is a large risk that it will get even worse before it gets better. There is cause for concern as to what the road back to civilian rule and democratic reforms will look like."

Denmark has decided to stop all co-operation with the interim Egyptian government, but the Swedish development assistance only goes to non-governmental organisations.

On Thursday afternoon, the Egyptian chargé d'affaires in Sweden was called in for a meeting at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs for a meeting with Director-General for Political Affairs, Björn Lyrvall.

Lyrvall expressed deep concern over the latest developments in Egypt and condemned the violence there, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt's press secretary, Erik Zsiga, told news agency TT.

"We conveyed our view that violence is not a solution. Instead, respect and tolerance must rule and we see the interim regime and the military as the main responsible parties for the situation that has arisen," said Zsiga.

Sweden also encouraged both sides in the conflict to show restraint in order to break the spiral of violence.

No aid for political groups that welcome violence

Radio Sweden asked Jon Hedenström, responsible for Egypt at the development agency Sida, why Sweden is still sending money to Egypt.

His answer is that Sweden is supporting democracy movements, rather than the Egyptian state. But he says that if any of their partner organisations supported the violence, that would be very negative, and Sida "would react".

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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