UN Security Council schedules emergency briefing on Egypt

The U.N. Security Council scheduled an emergency briefing Thursday on the latest developments in Egypt following the government's deadly crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the West of ignoring the violence and called on the Security Council to meet urgently to discuss the situation. Britain, France and Australia -- all council members -- jointly requested the council meeting.

The U.N. spokesman's office said Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson will brief the council behind closed doors at 5:30 p.m. EDT.

The death toll in Egypt soared to 638 on Thursday as turmoil spread across the country, following Wednesday's crackdown on two camps housing supporters of the ousted president who were demanding his reinstatement.

U.N. diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private, said they do not expect the council to issue a statement or adopt a resolution Thursday.

Whether the council takes any action in the future is uncertain. Russia and China traditionally oppose Security Council involvement in the domestic affairs of a country, partly because of sensitivity over disputes in their own countries, including in Chechnya and Tibet.

Argentina, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, condemned "the brutal repression against popular protests that won the streets of the main cities of Egypt." It urged authorities to "totally and immediately cease the spiral of violence loosed in recent days against unarmed citizens."