Sunday, January 30, 2011

Joint statement on Egypt from three European leaders

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, German chancellor Angela Merkel and British prime minister David Cameron have issued a joint statement on the situation in Egypt:

We are deeply concerned about the events that we are witnessing in Egypt. We recognize 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.

Meanwhile, ten minutes ago, a tweet from Al Jazeera producer Evan Hill informed us that their service has just been shut down in Egypt. This is disappointing news, because they've been doing a fine job.

In France, we nevertheless have a terse but excellent real-time blog from Le Monde.

Its messages are accompanied by an intriguing short sound intended to represent the noise of a ticker-tape machine.

BREAKING NEWS [Sunday morning 10.30 France]: Contrary to Evan Hill's tweet, Al Jazeera is still getting through to us.

[Sunday 14.07 France]: No, the end of Al Jazeera live coverage from Cairo has been confirmed by their on-the-spot journalist Evan Hill in an audio message. They've packed up their stuff and moved to a secret location.

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