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Volume 522: debated on Monday 31 January 2011

With your permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the situation in Egypt. First, may I apologise on behalf of the Secretary of State for his absence? The House may be aware that he is attending a Foreign Affairs Council today, where this issue is at the top of the agenda.

The calls for political reform in Egypt have been peaceful, but the general unrest has become increasingly dangerous, with elements of violence leading to lawlessness in some areas of major cities such as Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. Severe restrictions on freedom of expression, including the closure of internet access and mobile phone services, have only fuelled the anger of demonstrators. We have called on the Egyptian authorities to lift those restrictions urgently.

I am sure that the House will join me in expressing our deepest sympathies to all those affected by the unrest in Egypt, including the families and friends of those who have been killed and injured. Casualty figures remain unclear, but it is estimated that at least 100 people have died. On Saturday, the army took over responsibility for security in Cairo, and its role has so far been welcomed by protestors. Our aim throughout these events has been to ensure the safety of British nationals in Egypt and to support Egypt in making a stable transition to a more open, democratic society.

I turn first to consular issues. There are an estimated 20,000 British tourists in Egypt, the majority of whom are in the Red sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, where, according to our latest information, the situation remains calm. We estimate that there are a further 10,000 British nationals in the rest of Egypt.

On Friday 28 January we changed our travel advice to advise against “all but essential travel” to the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Luxor due to the severity of demonstrations there. On Saturday 29 January, we heightened our travel advice further to recommend that those without a pressing need to be in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez leave by commercial means where it was safe to do so. Those in Luxor are advised to stay indoors wherever possible. A daily curfew remains in place throughout Egypt from 3 pm to 8 am.

Cairo airport is open, but has been operating under considerable difficulties. The situation was particularly difficult yesterday, but our ambassador in Cairo reports that it has eased a little today. Flights are operating but are subject to delays or cancellation. The majority of British nationals have been able to leave Cairo airport today. We estimate that about 30 British nationals will remain at the airport overnight, to depart on scheduled flights tomorrow. The situation also appears to be improving in Alexandria, with road access to the airport now secure. We have staff at Cairo airport working around the clock to provide assistance to any British nationals who require it. We also have staff in Alexandria, Luxor and Sharm el Sheikh, who are providing regular updates about the situation on the ground in those parts of Egypt and staying in close touch with tour operators and British companies on the ground.

Additional staff reinforcements from London and the region have been sent to Egypt to help embassy staff maintain essential services in these difficult circumstances. A 24-hour hotline is available for British nationals to call if they need assistance or advice, and help is also available around the clock from the crisis resource centre at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I am sure the House will join me in recognising the hard work and dedication shown by all our staff, in both Egypt and London, in responding quickly and professionally to the unfolding events.

I turn to the political situation in Egypt. The UK has major strategic interests in Egypt, which has played an important role as a regional leader, including in the middle east peace process, and we are the largest single foreign investor. The scale of the protests is unprecedented in Egypt in the past 30 years. We have called on President Mubarak to avoid at all costs the use of violence against unarmed civilians, and on the demonstrators to exercise their rights peacefully.

In response to the growing protests, President Mubarak announced on 28 January that he had asked the Government to resign. On 29 January, he appointed the head of the Egyptian intelligence services, Omar Suleiman, as his vice-president and Ahmed Shafiq, most recently Minister for Civil Aviation, as Prime Minister. Further Cabinet appointments have been made today. However, demonstrations have continued and are now focused on a demand for President Mubarak to resign.

It is not for us to decide who governs Egypt. However, we believe that the pathway to stability in Egypt is through a process of political change that reflects the wishes of the Egyptian people. That should include an orderly transition to a more democratic system, including through the holding of free and fair elections and the introduction of measures to safeguard human rights. Such reform is essential to show people in Egypt that their concerns and aspirations are being listened to.

We continue to urge President Mubarak to appoint a broad-based Government who include opposition figures, and to embark on an urgent programme of peaceful political reform. We are also working with our international partners to ensure that those messages are given consistently and that technical and financial support for reform is available. The Prime Minister has spoken to President Mubarak and President Obama. The Foreign Secretary has spoken to Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU High Representative Baroness Ashton over the weekend, and he will also be discussing the situation in Egypt with EU colleagues at the Foreign Affairs Council today.

The situation in Egypt is still very uncertain. The safety of our citizens is our top priority, and we are putting in place contingency plans to ensure that we are prepared for all eventualities. I commend this statement to the House.

First, I thank the Minister for his statement and for providing a copy in advance.

The House is united today in expressing our concern at the loss of life in Egypt since last Wednesday. As the Minister said, it has been reported that more than 100 lives have been lost, and I join him in expressing condolences to the families and friends of all those who have been killed or injured. Thousands of courageous Egyptian citizens have taken to the streets to demonstrate for the basic political freedoms that we in the United Kingdom can take for granted. We welcome what the Minister has said today in support of an orderly transition to a broad-based Government who will address the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people.

Two weeks ago, we expressed concern about the speed at which the Government were offering support to British nationals who were stranded in Tunisia. We welcome the lessons that have clearly been learned since then, as this has ensured a swift response in getting the information and guidance that the Minister has described to British nationals in Egypt. As he said, the Foreign Office has issued travel advice urging British nationals not to travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor or Suez, and to leave by commercial means when it is safe to do so. I thank the Minister for updating the House today on the assistance that is being given to those British nationals trying to leave Egypt, and I join him in commending the hard work and dedication of the FCO’s staff in Egypt and here in London. I also welcome his announcement of additional staff. Can he assure the House that the Government have contingency plans in place to cover every eventuality, and that they now have enough consular officials on the ground to provide the necessary advice and assistance to UK nationals in Egypt?

The European Union has an important role to play in promoting regional stability and security in the middle east and north Africa, and it is encouraging to hear that Egypt is at the top of the agenda for today’s European Foreign Affairs Council. Does the Minister agree that the European Union should place greater emphasis on supporting the development of democracy, pluralism and human rights throughout the middle east and north Africa?

Over the past 30 years, Egypt has played a crucial role in fostering steps towards the middle east peace process. There are legitimate concerns that a political vacuum in Cairo could undermine the already precarious prospects for peace. Can the Minister update the House on discussions with Egypt’s neighbours, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority, who have important concerns for the peace process and for the stability and security of the wider region? The Minister told us that the Prime Minister had spoken to President Obama about events in Egypt. Could the Minister update the House on the progress of those discussions with the US Administration?

A disturbing feature of the past week’s events has been the regime’s censorship of independent media. I join the Minister in calling for an urgent end to restrictions on internet access and television broadcasting across Egypt. As he said, it is not for the United Kingdom to decide Egypt’s future path; that is a matter for the people of Egypt. Does he agree, however, that the United Kingdom has a responsibility to those people to support their demands for freedom and to encourage an orderly transition to a more open, democratic and pluralist Egypt?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the tone and content of his remarks, and particularly for his appreciation of the work of our consular staff in London and Egypt. I think that he and I see the political situation there in very similar terms.

In answer to the hon. Gentleman’s question on consular staff, we have 20 members of staff at Cairo airport. They are very visible, because they are wearing orange bibs so that people can see them. I understand that we are the only Government who have staff there. Indeed, a number of them slept there last night in order to be on hand constantly to deal with any issues and to show a degree of solidarity with the British citizens who were required to spend the night at the airport because of the curfew restrictions. We hope we have enough people in place to do the job of answering all the questions.

In terms of EU support over a period of time, Egypt has an association agreement with the EU, which is implemented through a jointly agreed action plan. Although Egypt has implemented some of its commitments on economic reform, progress has been more limited on political and social reform. Indeed, the engagement with the EU contains vital steps on political and social reform—those are pressed on all nations that wish for such relationships. It is only to be hoped that reform ideas will be further implemented as a result of the events that we have seen taking place.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the middle east peace process. He is right that this situation has come at a very difficult point in that process. An awful lot of work is being done to try to get the parties closer together. Egypt has been an ally in terms of moderate Arab opinion, and of course made its own arrangements—a peace agreement—with Israel some time ago. Clearly, whatever Government emerge in Egypt, and whether the president continues or something else happens in due course, our strategic interests remain the same. We clearly hope for a Government in Egypt who see the middle east peace process as the absolute bulwark to the solutions that are needed in that whole region, and who see that it is crucial to proceed with the process. I know that those concerns are shared in Israel.

I welcome what the hon. Gentleman said about media restrictions, and we are pressing Egypt extremely hard on those matters. Egypt has international commitments to freedom of expression, which has been severely curtailed by restrictions on the internet and electronic media. Our sense is that that actually does no good at all, because of the way in which information spreads these days. Clamping down on one media simply squeezes the bubble and more information appears elsewhere. For all sorts of reasons, not least in respect of getting information to people when there are security difficulties, which we need to do, it would be best not to stop information spreading.

The Prime Minister has had conversations with US President Obama, as the Foreign Secretary has with Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Again, there is a common feeling that the demands of the people in Egypt for political reform have been long-standing, and that they are not going to go away, whether they are suppressed or repressed. The only way forward is to look for a proper political process that will give an orderly transition to a state of government of which political reform, free and fair elections, and an acknowledgment and acceptance of free expression, are key parts. On that, the US and UK are absolutely agreed.

Finally, the hon. Gentleman mentioned support for the people of Egypt. As I indicated earlier, it is not for this country to decide what Government there might be, but there are principles that underpin a stable society. Openness, transparency, accountability and a free political system are, in fact, not agents of dangerous change, but the foundations of political stability. The Government share that view with all in the House. We hope that there is an orderly and peaceful transition towards such a future for the people of Egypt.

The Minister has acknowledged that while the departure of President Mubarak would be welcomed on democratic grounds, it would also remove one of the most powerful forces for foreign policy moderation in the middle east. Does he also acknowledge that Egyptian public opinion is far more radical on the peace process and other issues than the President has been, and therefore that the emergence of populist Government could carry the risk of Egypt aligning itself more with Syria and Iran, which would have very disturbing implications for the prospects of peace in the region?

My right hon. and learned Friend makes an important point. Egypt’s place in ensuring regional security and helping towards finding a way through the very difficult problems in the middle east is well known. No one quite knows what will come out of the greater involvement of the democratic process, but it is to be hoped that Egypt’s strategic interests are in regional stability and in furthering the peace process. It will be a matter of free and public debate as to how that argument continues, but this country’s strategic interests and those of others are best served by a Government of whatever sort who recognise my right hon. and learned Friend’s point—that is a Government who ensure stability in the region, and as I indicated earlier, a Government who help all parties to move towards a middle east peace process settlement as quickly and effectively as possible.

Does the Minister not recognise that stability sought through non-democratic means, including the removal of people’s freedoms, can only be temporary, and that although democracy can have many inconvenient consequences, including the election of people we do not like, it is far better, in the medium term, for the stability of the region and Egypt’s future that there be free and fair elections in which candidates of any party and persuasion can stand and take office?

The right hon. Gentleman speaks the truth. Of course, democracy has its difficulties—we all understand that very well. However, as I tried to indicate in the conclusion of my earlier remarks, it is absolutely clear that the forces of democracy, including free expression, criticism, accountability and transparency —however uncomfortable—are a better foundation for longer-term stability than anything that seeks to repress those feelings, as we have seen not only in Egypt, but in other places. I am quite sure that whatever the democratic process produces will have to be acknowledged by countries around Egypt. However, we all hope that the process will bring people to a recognition that the opportunity to express their feelings about how they wish their country to develop should be taken maturely and effectively.

Does the Minister accept that in formulating our response to events in Egypt we are to some extent hindered by the ambiguity of previous policy towards not only Egypt but the region, which appeared to put security of energy supply—particularly oil—above issues of democracy and human rights? How will the Government set the balance?

Over a number of years, this country and others have engaged consistently in conversations with those in Egypt and other countries in the area about the need for political and social reform. Two weeks ago, I was at a conference in Doha with G8 countries and those representing the broader middle east and north African area. It was the seventh time that this conference had taken place and such engagements had occurred, and a recurring theme was how political and social change could happen in the region. G8 countries sent a consistent message, as the European Union has done over a period of time, and as this Government have done, and I do not think that there is an inconsistency in trying to achieve stability in such a way.

Is there not the danger that the longer the Egyptian Government try to keep the top on the pressure cooker, the more people will be forced or inclined to look towards radical alternatives, not only in Egypt but elsewhere? Is not the role of organisations such as the BBC World Service of even more significance, therefore, given that we are trying to ensure that people have access to a fair interpretation of events on the ground?

As I indicated earlier, free expression is very important. People access information about what is going on by a variety of methods—it is clear that the information tide will never be rolled back. The BBC World Service has played its part, and a new and reformed BBC World Service will continue to do just that.

The Minister said that Egypt is no Tunisia. In population terms, it is the largest Arab state and a force for moderation, and the treaty with Israel is important and enduring. As highlighted by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir Malcolm Rifkind), a disorderly transition could lead to huge uncertainty, particularly as far as that treaty is concerned.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is why all nations, including the EU, the United States and partners, are united in asking for an orderly transition. Opposition can no longer be repressed, but there must be an orderly transition towards a reformed Egypt to ensure stability for us all and not least the middle east peace process.

I appreciate the Minister’s position in that the Government do not want to be seen to be interfering directly in the affairs of another state. However, it is clear that the diplomatic message that President Mubarak is getting is being interpreted by him to mean that he can remain in power. May I suggest to the Minister that it is certainly open to the House to express the view that it is time for Mubarak to go?

The hon. Gentleman makes his own point, but he is correct in his first interpretation, which is that it is not for the United Kingdom Government to dictate to the Egyptian people how they should govern themselves.

The international community has called for substantial and basic reforms in Egypt. What is the time line by which the international community expects that to happen, and will the current instability and insecurity be taken into account?

In the present context, time lines are genuinely difficult to estimate. Nobody knows quite what will happen with those who are gathered in the square or how long protests will continue. Whatever the time line is, I think that the international community would agree that it should naturally be as short as possible. The expression of the people has been clear. There is a process to be gone through, but it must be quick and effective, and it must lead to a reformed Egypt, as far as political change and democracy are concerned.

The Minister referred to developments in different parts of Egypt. Does he have any information about what is happening with the Rafah crossings and the tunnels into Gaza? There is potential for people to take advantage of the current instability and send rockets or other materials into Gaza, with wider destabilising consequences in the region.

I understand the concern with which the hon. Gentleman speaks. We have no information at present to suggest that that is happening, but his strictures are well noted and will, I am sure, be taken into account.

Following on from the previous question, from the hon. Member for Ilford South (Mike Gapes), has my hon. Friend had a chance to assess the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly given its close relationship with Hamas in Gaza and the potentially destabilising effect on Israel? Does he agree that democracy is not just about elections, but about religious tolerance, property rights, the rule of law and human rights as well?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. The general sense is that events in Egypt have not been influenced by one particular political group or orchestrated in any way. Although the two countries are different, much as with the events in Tunisia, what has happened seems to have been, as far as possible, a spontaneous expression of concern about political freedoms. Although the Muslim Brotherhood is plainly a part of the political force in Egypt, we have no evidence to suggest that it has been involved in creating what is currently happening. My hon. Friend is absolutely right as well that with democracy and governance come responsibilities. The world would be disappointed if a reformed Egypt adopted any extremist attitudes similar to those he described from the parties he mentioned.

Tomorrow the Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Minister of State, Department for International Development will meet Dr Abu-Bakr al-Qirbi, one of the longest serving Foreign Ministers in the Arab world. I would caution the Minister not to treat each Arab country as being the same or to treat what is happening in Egypt in a similar way to what happened in Tunisia or Yemen, which have particular issues that need to be addressed. In telling countries about the need for reform, we should encourage democratic movements, rather than letting it appear that we are giving lectures about how countries should be run.

The right hon. Gentleman knows Yemen as well as any Member of the House, and I am sure he would not expect us to treat all countries in the region in any way similarly. There may be similar tensions, but each country is different and each is approaching its problems differently. There is an established process, entitled the Friends of Yemen, involving a group of countries working with Yemen to deal with its issues, but it is very much a Yemeni-led process, which His Excellency Dr al-Qirbi is well in charge of, and there is an excellent relationship with the United Kingdom. There are tensions in Yemen that cannot be ignored, but the Government are fully apprised of them, and we are working on a partnership basis.

Stevenage is the home of the Egyptian Coptic cathedral in the United Kingdom. I attended a memorial service with the Egyptian ambassador earlier this month, after a terrorist attack in Alexandria that killed 23 Christians. Will the Minister assure the House that during these times of protest we will be sending a clear message that attacks on unarmed civilians and minority groups will not go unpunished?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that issue. The attack on the Coptic church over the new year was one of the most upsetting aspects of what has become a wave of attacks against minority communities throughout the middle east. It is absolutely right that such attacks are condemned. Indeed, the Egyptian Government have been quick to condemn that atrocity and to give us confidence, as best they can, that those involved will be met with the full rigour of the law. With any instability, there is always a danger that the situation will be exploited. So far, we have no evidence that any minority community is bearing the brunt of any of the lawlessness, which we would all wish to see ended as soon as possible.

Will the Minister join me in condemning Mubarak’s attempt to shut al-Jazeera, which has proved to be an effective reporting mechanism? Does he agree that none of the attempts to shut the media will stifle the message that large numbers of young people are very angry at 30 years of human rights abuse, neo-liberal economics and unemployment, and that until those issues are addressed there will be no stability or peace in Egypt or indeed in any other country that follows those policies?

The hon. Gentleman is right to condemn attempts to shut any electronic media, including al-Jazeera. It is completely self-defeating. There will always be ways to provide information and we have, indeed, urged on the Egyptian Government the opening up of all electronic media, including al-Jazeera, as soon as possible.

What representations did the British Government make to the Egyptian Government before the supposed elections last year about making those elections free and fair?

I thank my hon. Friend for making a pertinent point. We urged on the Egyptian authorities the appointment of independent monitors for the elections, as we have done in respect of the presidential elections that are due, all other things being equal, in September this year. A measure of transparency would have been very welcome in those parliamentary elections, and we will continue to press this route on the Egyptian authorities.

There are a great many people of Egyptian origin in this country, including many of my constituents. No doubt we all share their concerns not just about what is happening in Egypt, but about the safety of friends and family. What my constituents asked me to put to the Minister is, first, that this opportunity for reform should not be missed; and, secondly, that if and when the old regime falls, there are likely to be profiteers escaping from the country with ill-gotten gains. Will the Minister assure us that they will not be given sanctuary in this country and that British banks will not support any attempt to take money out of Egypt illicitly?

The hon. Gentleman raises an interesting point. It was noticeable, particularly in respect of Tunisia, that the international community moved quickly in response to the Government’s requests to stop money that they considered to have been abstracted illegally. The British Government would consider any similar requests, should they emerge—but that is some way down the line, as the hon. Gentleman will, I am sure, appreciate.

I thank my hon. Friend for his statement. These are dramatic events, which happen once in a generation, and the mother of all Parliaments should salute the people-power that overthrows a dictator. Does my hon. Friend agree, however, that other nations should be looking closely at what has happened in Tunisia and is happening in Egypt? Does he also agree that we should use our influence cautiously, as we need only look over our shoulders at what happened in Iran and Algeria to see how things can turn out?

My hon. Friend draws attention to the fact that although the underlying tensions in many of the countries in the region might be similar, each country is indeed different. Reactions to protests such as we see in Egypt are different and the reactions are often different some months after the protests. Algeria remembers, of course, the dark days of its civil war and would understandably have no wish to go down that road again. The people’s revolution in Iran—or, at least, the attempted people’s revolution in Iran 18 months ago—was savagely repressed. Nobody quite knows what the process will be in Egypt. Having experienced those examples, however, what the international community can say clearly is that in this case we would like an orderly process of reform. The opportunities for that are there; we very much hope that both parties will seize the chance and produce an Egypt that they would be proud to see taking its place in the international community.

I know the Minister will agree that one of the main causes of unrest in Egypt is the fact that a third of the population live on a few quid a day. Will he make sure that the British Government’s position is to try to ensure that the Egyptian trade union movement is involved in any resettlement talks, so that poverty issues can be discussed?

It is not for the United Kingdom Government to dictate who might be part of political settlements in any country. I am sure that it is true that the trade union movement in Egypt has a part to play, but that is a matter for the Egyptian people to decide.

As the House must be aware, Egypt is a highly important partner in the context of stability, not only in the middle east peace process but in the wider middle east through the Suez canal and into north Africa. Will my hon. Friend undertake to do all that he can to ensure a peaceful transition by ensuring a peaceful press, a peaceful judiciary and a transition to full, fair and open presidential elections later this year?

In mentioning the press, the judiciary and the democratic process of free and fair elections, my hon. Friend has put his finger on three of the essential items that make a country stable. They are all immensely important, no matter what difficult pains may be involved in that democratic process. I have no doubt that the Egyptian authorities will be well apprised of them, and I hope that they will be part of the process over the coming weeks and months.

I am grateful for the Minister’s assurances about what is being done to protect British tourists in Egypt. This morning, however, I was contacted by a constituent who had been told by his brother-in-law, based in Sharm el Sheikh, that some hotels were boarded up and food rationing was in operation. According to the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the situation is calm. Does the Minister agree that that information should be revised in order better to advise British tourists and other travellers and their families?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising that point. Although the situation in Sharm el Sheikh is genuinely calm and we receive regular updates on it almost hourly from our honorary consul, it is true that certain hotels have taken the precaution of ensuring the safety of their guests by warning them about the curfew and indeed, in some instances, erecting barricades. That has been done in response to their own concerns about what might happen; none of it has been done in response to incidents that have already happened.

Although guests and British tourists have understandably been slightly alarmed by what has been done, we understand that it has been done entirely for their own protection, and that the situation is indeed calm. Our travel advice therefore remains that it is safe to go to Sharm el Sheikh, and we sincerely hope that that is still the case. If there were any changes we would know about them quickly, and would respond accordingly.

Will the Minister join me in condemning President Mubarak’s use of the military aircraft that were deployed yesterday to threaten and intimidate legitimate protesters on the streets of Cairo?

I am sure that none of us who saw those pictures could quite work out what was intended to be conveyed, or whether it had delivered precisely what the Egyptian Government had intended. It is not for us to comment on the reasons for the deployment of aircraft, but we sincerely hope that it does not presage attempts to use any form of violence to deal with what is essentially a peaceful reform protest.

There have been reports in the press about attempted looting of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, which is home to many unique artefacts of global importance, including the Tutankhamun treasures. Will the Minister ensure that the British Government send a strong message to Egypt about the importance of maintaining the safety of its unique archaeological heritage?

I understand that the Egyptian authorities were equally alarmed by the possibility that lawlessness would extend to looting which might involve their antiquities, and that they have responded accordingly. It is to the benefit of the whole world for those antiquities to be preserved and for the museum to be safe, and we are sure that the Egyptian authorities are well aware of the need to do just that.

I thank the Minister for his statement. Ever since Egypt signed an historic peace agreement with Israel in 1979, we have rightly considered her to be a very strategic and reliable ally. Has the Minister made any assessment of the impact of an abrupt regime change in Egypt on our own national security?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in line with various other bodies, is indeed considering the implications of what all this might mean. While no one can say precisely where it will end, my hon. Friend is right to observe that the strategic interests of the United Kingdom are furthered by a Government, of whatever sort and whoever leads them, who retain the same strategic sense of the importance of stability in the middle east, the need to find a solution to the middle east peace process as quickly as possible, and the need to maintain the best possible relations with its neighbours, while also playing a part in ensuring regional security—particularly in relation to countries such as Iran.

The Minister rightly states that it is, of course, for the Egyptian people to decide their Government’s future. Nevertheless, will he inform the House what actions our Government may be able to take to minimise the possibility of an extremist Government taking over, as unfortunately happened on the Shah of Iran’s fall in 1979?

The nature of my hon. Friend’s question and the way in which he put it show that he appreciates that there is a limited amount that any external source can do to dictate to the Egyptian people what they might do with freedom of expression through the ballot box. The best thing we could do is make clear, once again, our belief that Egypt’s interests would be best served by having a moderate reformed Government who look at their place in the world and at the dangers of extremism and themselves turn away from those who would advocate that course, either in the region or in the world. We believe that Egypt should find itself with a Government with whom not only Egyptians, but others would be comfortable.