BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union called for a rapid return to democracy in Egypt on Thursday after the country's armed forces overthrew President Mohamed Mursi.
"I urge all sides to rapidly return to the democratic process, including the holding of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections and the approval of a constitution, to be done in a fully inclusive manner, so as to permit the country to resume and complete its democratic transition," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
Egypt's armed forces ousted Islamist President Mursi on Wednesday, sparking wild rejoicing in the streets at the prospect of new elections.
Ashton said she hoped Egypt's new administration would be fully inclusive. She stressed the importance of ensuring full respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law and said she would hold the authorities to account for this.
Calling for maximum restraint by all sides, Ashton said: "I strongly condemn all violent acts, offer my condolences to the families of the victims, and urge the security forces to do everything in their power to protect the lives and well-being of Egyptian citizens."
At least 10 people were killed when opponents and supporters of Mursi clashed, state media and officials said.
The EU remained "unequivocally committed to supporting the Egyptian people in their aspirations to democracy and inclusive governance," Ashton said.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Philip Barbara)