SA concerned by events in Egypt

The AU is likely to suspend Egypt from all activities following the coup, a source said.

Millions of Egyptians celebrate after Mohamed Morsi was toppled by the army on 3 July 2013. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG/ADDIS ABABA - Government has withdrawn all non-essential personnel and families from the South African Embassy in Cairo until the situation allows them to return.

International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the embassy would however remain open and would continue assisting South Africans.

He also advised travellers to the country to plan carefully.

In the statement released on Thursday afternoon, Monyela said government had "observed with concern the removal from office of a democratically elected president in Egypt."

The department called on Egyptians to resolve the crisis through dialogue and legal means.

"The government is of the view that all efforts should be made to avoid violent confrontation between contending parties."

Earlier on Thursday, constitutional court head Adly Mansour was sworn in as the country's interim leader.

He will become head of state under an army transition plan.

Egypt's first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the military on Wednesday night.

AU COULD SUSPEND EGYPT

The African Union is likely to suspend Egypt from all its activities following the coup, a senior AU source said on Thursday.

The source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters that members of the AU's peace and Security Council would meet on Friday and were likely to implement the AU's usual response to any interruption of constitutional rule by a member state.

"The belief is that the doctrine will be applied, which is suspension for any country where an unconstitutional change has taken place," he said.

In the March, the AU also suspended the Central African Republic after rebels overthrew the government there.

Ramtane Lamamra, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Council, told Reuters in the Ethiopian capital where the AU is based that the council would discuss Egypt's situation at the Friday meeting.

"We intend to dispatch a mission and urge the Egyptian authorities to establish dialogue," Lamamra said.