- Title: BELGIUM: NATO's Rasmussen says concerned by situation in Egypt
- Date: 4th July 2013
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (RECENT) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF NATO HEADQUARTERS NATO FLAG
- Embargoed: 19th July 2013 13:00
- Location: Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA4BVBXNXYEFB1402SRQXCIVOI6
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday (July 4) he was seriously worried about the situation in Egypt, where the army has ousted President Mohamed Mursi.
"I am gravely concerned by the situation in Egypt, and I'm concerned by the reports of fighting and death," Rasmussen told a news conference.
Egypt will swear in an interim leader on Thursday after a tumultuous 24 hours during which the army ousted President Mohamed Mursi and vast crowds celebrated in Cairo and Alexandria amid clashes that cost 14 lives.
"I call on everyone to exercise restraint and refrain from violence, to respect human rights, including the rights of minorities, and the rule of law and to work to establish a democratic and inclusive civilian government as soon as possible," he said.
Rasmussen said the focus should be on finding solutions rather than discussing whether what happened in Egypt was a military coup or not.
"I don't think the most important thing right now is a theoretical discussion about how to label what has happened, whether it's a coup or not, I don't think the label is the most important thing. The most important thing now is to find solutions," he said.
The Alliance's chief also said he had no reason to believe that NATO's security had been compromised by alleged U.S. spying on its European allies.
The German magazine Der Spiegel, citing secret documents, reported last Saturday that the United States had bugged European Union offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks.
Der Spiegel quoted from a September 2010 "top secret" U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) document that it said fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had taken with him.
The magazine mentioned a NATO link, reporting that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed several missed calls and traced them to NSA offices within the NATO compound in Brussels.
Questioned about the Spiegel report at a news conference, Rasmussen said he had no information about possible NSA facilities within the U.S. representation at NATO.
"NATO is not involved in this. I don't consider it a NATO problem. I have no reason to believe that NATO security has been compromised in any way," he said.
The United States and other NATO members have offices at the sprawling NATO headquarters complex in Brussels.
Rasmussen said he had not asked the U.S. government about the spying reports and added that his focus was on strengthening the transatlantic relation.
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