Cairo: British Prime Minister David
Cameron held talks in Cairo on Monday, on the first trip by a
foreign leader to the Egyptian capital since the downfall of
long time president Hosni Mubarak.
Cameron held talks with Field Marshall Hussein
Tantawi, the country`s de facto leader since a popular
uprising toppled Mubarak, the official MENA news agency
He also met Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who heads a
caretaker government, and the meeting later expanded to
include Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit.
Cameron arrived in the Middle East to the backdrop of
uprisings against long-established Arab regimes from the Gulf
through North Africa.
Speaking en route to Cairo, Cameron said: "This is a
great opportunity for us to go and talk to those currently
running Egypt to make sure this really is a genuine transition
from military rule to civilian rule and see what friendly
countries like Britain and others in Europe can do to help.
"I am particularly keen... to get to Egypt and to be
one of the first people there," he told British journalists
travelling with him.
The lifting of Egypt`s draconian emergency laws -- in
place throughout Mubarak`s three decades in power, and
enabling the authorities to detain anyone without charge or
trial -- would be on his agenda, he added.
"What is so refreshing about what`s been happening is
that this is not an Islamist revolt," Cameron said.
"This is not extremists on the streets. This is people
who want to have the sort of basic freedoms that we take for
granted in the United Kingdom."
Asked about the ongoing unrest in Libya, Cameron said:
"I think we have been extremely consistent in saying that the
response to the aspirations that people are showing on the
streets of these countries must be one of reform, not
He added: "We can see what is happening in Libya,
which is completely appalling and unacceptable, as the regime
is using the most vicious forms of repression against people
who want to see that country -- which is one of the most
closed and one of the most autocratic -- make progress."