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article imageCameron, Merkel and Sarkozy release joint statement on Egypt

By Gemma Fox     Jan 29, 2011 in Politics
While reports coming from Egypt say that looting has become more widespread, the curfew is being ignored and violence is increasing, world leaders have began urging President Mubarak to do what he can to prevent violent unrest in the nations cities.
While Mubarak makes a bid to hold onto power by sacking his government and, for the first time, appointing a vice president and a prime minister, leaders from the US and Europe have urged him to recognise the grievances of the Egyptian people and to act appropriately.
US President Barack Obama met with his national security officials on Saturday and afterwards the White House said the focus remained on "calling for restraint, supporting universal rights and supporting concrete steps that advance political reform."
This followed on from Friday, which after focussing on the situation in Egypt for most of the day, Obama spoke to the US nation. He said:
As the situation continues to unfold, our first concern is preventing injury or loss of life. So I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protestors.
The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere.
I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions that they’ve taken to interfere with access to the Internet, to cell phone service and to social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st century.
He then went on to say: [after talking to Mubarak on the phone] I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words, to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise.
Then on Saturday night three leaders from Europe aired their concerns about the protests and violence in Egypt. British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy released a joint statement. It read:
We are deeply concerned about the events that we are witnessing in Egypt. We recognise the moderating role President Mubarak has played over many years in the Middle East. We now urge him to show the same moderation in addressing the current situation in Egypt.
We call on President Mubarak to avoid at all costs the use of violence against unarmed civilians, and on the demonstrators to exercise their rights peacefully.
It is essential that the further political, economic and social reforms President Mubarak has promised are implemented fully and quickly and meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people.
There must be full respect for human rights and democratic freedoms, including freedom of expression and communication, including use of telephones and the internet, and the right of peaceful assembly.
The Egyptian people have legitimate grievances and a longing for a just and better future. We urge President Mubarak to embark on a process of transformation which should be reflected in a broad-based government and in free and fair elections.
Despite the government of Egypt imposing an overnight curfew on the city of Cairo, thousands of people remained on the streets of the city as the fifth day of protests drew to a close and because of widespread reports of looting, local residents have taken to forming committees, armed with hockey sticks and other weapons, aimed at protecting their own families and belongings.
While the curfew remains largely ignored, the army continues to not intervene in the current situation but remains on standby.
More about Egypt, David Cameron, Angela merkel, Nicolas sarkozy, Obama
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