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Officials Around the World Urge Calm, Reform in Egypt

  • Jennifer Glasse

Police in Cairo, January 31, 2011

Police in Cairo, January 31, 2011

The world is watching Egypt with interest and concern. Many countries have urged their citizens not to travel to the country and others are evacuating their citizens. Leaders and foreign ministers around the world are calling for calm and to respect the will of the Egyptian people.

Middle East Envoy Tony Blair, speaking in Jerusalem, says one thing is clear in Egypt.

"I do not think there is any doubt there is going to be a change in Egypt,” said Mr. Blair. “The question is what type of change, and how do we get there. And the essence of it is that we get to a situation where the will of the people is expressed in proper elections, but that that is done in circumstances where there's stability, there is order."

Spain’s Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez says his country supports the Egyptian people and their call for reforms.

"We want the starting of negotiations between the opposition and the government in order to reach a national unity, a government of unity, in order to start the way for a freedom, for the democracy, and also for the election with all the guarantees and all the freedom," Jimenez said.

Slideshow of the latest images from Egypt

Markos Kyprianou, the foreign minister of Cyprus, says he believes the Egyptian president will do the right thing.

"Of course we are confident that President Mubarak will move in to the reforms, will press ahead with the reforms as it has been called by the people, but of course it has to be done in a calm and orderly manner and the European Union will be ready to support and stand by the side of Egypt in this transitional process," said Kyprianou.

British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to President Mubarak and U.S. President Barack Obama and told BBC Television that repression is the wrong choice for Egypt.

"We want the response of the Egyptian government to be that there needs to be a proper orderly transition to a more democratic situation where there are greater rights, greater freedoms, better rule of law and that sort of reform to show to people in Egypt that their concerns and aspirations are being listened to," said Mr. Cameron.

Mr. Cameron said it is not his place to say whether Mr. Mubarak should step down.

His foreign office minister, Alistair Burt, echoed that in a statement in Parliament on behalf of Britain’s foreign minister.

"It is not for us to decide who governs Egypt,” said Burt. “However we believe that the pathway to stability in Egypt is through a process of political change which reflects the wishes of the Egyptian people."

Slideshow of related images from Egypt

He says this should include an orderly transition to a more democratic system including through holding free and fair elections, and the introduction of measures to safeguard human rights.

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