UN chief calls for de-escalation in Egypt
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday called on Egyptian protesters and authority exercise "maximum restraint" and "shift immediately to de-escalation", Xinhua reported.
"The secretary-general is alarmed by ongoing developments in Egypt and the widespread outbreak of violent protests and excessive use of force in handling them," said a statement issued by Ban's spokesperson.
In the statement, Ban strongly condemned attacks on churches, hospitals and other public facilities, "which he finds unacceptable."
"Whatever the grievances, there is no justification for destruction of infrastructure and property so important to Egypt's future," said the statement.
The secretary-general believed that preventing further loss of life should be "the Egyptians' highest priority at this dangerous moment," the statement said.
"He urges those in the street and those in authority to use maximum restraint and shift immediately to de-escalation," the statement noted.
The UN chief appealed to the authorities and to the political leaders to adopt a credible plan to contain the violence and revive the political process hijacked by violence.
"Time is of the essence," the secretary-general stressed.
In addition, Ban reiterated that political clocks move only forward, not backwards.
"With such sharp polarization in Egyptian society, both the authorities and the political leaders share the responsibility for ending the current violence," the statement said.
Nearly 48 people were killed and 1,118 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood group were arrested during nationwide demonstrations in Egypt on Friday.