UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Friday issued a statement [text] urging Egyptian political parties to avoid provocations and consider approaches that would foster an inclusive political process favoring reconciliation. Tension and political divisiveness in Egypt has continued following the military's ouster [JURIST report] of former President Mohamed Morsi [official BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The statement said: "The Secretary-General's immediate concern is for the leaders of Egypt, on all sides, to exercise their leadership and their responsibility to do whatever can be done to prevent further loss of life among the Egyptian people." The UN SG expressed confidence that if violent means can be avoided, Egypt will reach a successful resolution.
Although Egypt has faced political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began over two years ago, the conflict peaked recently in the wake of new developments. Earlier this month, amid escalating unrest in Cairo, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) [official website] expressed concern [JURIST report] that children were being used as symbolic witnesses and subjected to violence in the recent unrest. Last month, both Ban and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] engaged the current leadership in discussions about protecting human rights and the UN urged the Egyptian government to ensure the application of law and order in dealing with protesters. The country's interim government also caused controversy earlier in July when it shut down [JURIST report] four Islamist-run television stations that it viewed as sympathetic to ousted president Mohammed Morsi and his supporters. The country's government is currently being headed by the Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, Adly Mansour [BBC profile], who took the oath [JURIST report] to become the interim head of state days after the Egyptian military deposed Morsi and suspended the nation's constitution in early July.