EU leaders urge dialogue, end to violence in Egypt

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that if the Egyptian regime uses violence on protesters in Cairo today it will lose any remaining international credibility it has left.

Last Updated: Feb 04, 2011, 21:56 PM IST

Brussels: British Prime Minister David Cameron
said that if the Egyptian regime uses violence on protesters
in Cairo today it will lose any remaining international
credibility it has left.

The steps the Egyptian government has taken so far have
failed to meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people, Cameron
said as he arrived in Brussels for a European Union summit
that was supposed to be dominated by economic matters.

The EU has been criticised for lagging behind United
States President Barack Obama in distancing itself from
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and Cameron appeared to
challenge his fellow European leaders to take a stronger
stand.

"Above all, the message is this: if we see on the streets
of Cairo today state-sponsored violence or the hiring of thugs
to beat up protesters, then Egypt and its regime would lose
any remaining credibility and support it has in the eyes of
the watching world, including Britain," Cameron said.

Other EU leaders arriving for the summit today called for
a national dialogue between Egypt`s government and the
opposition, but shied away from echoing the Obama
administration`s calls for Mubarak to step down.

The summit is expected to adopt a call for an orderly
transition to democratic rule in Egypt, including early
elections. It may also ask the EU`s foreign policy chief,
Catherine Ashton, who has been criticised for inaction on the
issue, to travel to Cairo and press Mubarak to relinquish
power peacefully.

As violent protests in Egypt`s major cities continued,
Ashton said it was essential that the government and people
"move forward together."

PTI