EU and UK representatives express concern over Alex church bombing

Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU spoke on Monday of the necessity to protect Egyptian Copts’ rights to gather and worship freely.

In a press release Ashton said she deplored the attack on the church of St. Mark and St. Peter in Alexandria and was “deeply saddened by the news of the attack against worshippers at the Coptic Church in Alexandria that killed and injured a large number of innocent civilians.”

Meanwhile, Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, also condemned the bombings and expressed solidarity with the victims’ families, saying he was "grieving deeply for Copts in Egypt who paid with their lives for celebrating the New Year.”

“In the name of the European parliament, I call on Muslims and Christians to be calm and understanding,” said Buzek.

Buzek expressed hope that 2011 would bring peace among Egypt's religious sects and stressed that the Egyptian government should provide guarantees to its Christian minority as well as taking necessary measures to arrest the perpetrators of the attack.

Although some radical elements seek to cause sectarian divisions, Copts have been considered part of Egypt for two millenia, said Buzek.

In a phone interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm, the British ambassador to Cairo, Dominic Asquith, expressed sorrow for the victims and said that British foreign secretary William Hague has offered President Hosni Mubarak his condolences.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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