BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union deplored the killings in Egypt of dozens of demonstrators in Egypt on Wednesday as security forces cleared protest camps and it called for maximum restraint by all sides.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was following the situation in Egypt with great concern.
"Confrontation and violence is not the way forward to resolve key political issues. I deplore the loss of lives, injuries and destruction in Cairo and other places in Egypt. I call on the security forces to exercise utmost restraint and on all Egyptian citizens to avoid further provocations and escalation," she said in a statement.
Egyptian security forces killed at least 29 people earlier when they moved in to break up a camp of Cairo protesters demanding the reinstatement of deposed President Mohamed Mursi, his Muslim Brotherhood movement said.
Six security force members were killed, state television reported, quoting the Interior Ministry.
The EU, together with the United States, has been trying to mediate in the Egyptian crisis. Ashton met the toppled Mursi at a secret detention facility late last month.
She said Egypt's democratic future would depend on "a dialogue among all concerned aimed at overcoming differences in an inclusive process of political reconciliation, with a fully empowered civilian government and functioning democratic institutions."
Important elements of any settlement included upholding the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful protest, protecting all citizens and enabling full political participation, Ashton said. She added that all sides must take responsibility for the orderly conduct of demonstrations and an end to incitement.
Lithuania, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, issued a separate statement voicing "extreme concern" at the latest turmoil in Egypt.
"At this critical moment, it is important to avoid escalation of violence and to solve political disagreements through peaceful means, as well ad begin a dialogue between the political forces as soon as possible," said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Barbara Lewis)