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Britain suspends 49 export licenses to Egypt

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain suspended 49 export licenses to Egypt on Wednesday, saying it wanted to prevent British goods being used in unrest that has led to civilian deaths in the Arab country.

London has already taken action to restrict exports to Egypt, last month withdrawing five licenses for goods such as components for armored fighting infantry vehicles, communication equipment for tanks and machine gun parts.

Wednesday's suspension, which applies to licenses for the Egyptian army, air force and internal security forces, covers a range of equipment, including spares for helicopters and aircraft, specialist software and communications equipment.

"As a result of the developing situation in Egypt, we have agreed with EU partners in this instance to go further and suspend all export licenses for goods which might be used for internal repression," Business Secretary Vince Cable said in a statement.

"By acting together, we want to send a clear signal that we condemn all violence in Egypt."

More than 1,000 people, including about 100 police and soldiers, have been killed since the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on July 3 in the worst internal violence in the Egyptian republic's history. Most died when the security forces dispersed two pro-Mursi protest camps on August 14.

The suspension will be kept under review until "conditions in Egypt indicate that it is appropriate to lift these restrictions", Cable's statement added.

Last week, the European Union stopped short of agreeing immediate cuts in financial or military assistance to Cairo when the bloc's foreign ministers held emergency talks to find ways to help bring an end to violence in Egypt.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alison Williams)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130828/britain-suspends-49-export-licenses-egypt