European foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have been reacting to the drama unfolding in Egypt. The EU supports the Arab Republic holding peaceful, free elections.
Chief diplomat Catherine Ashton made clear the bloc wants to help: “I believe it is very important that the European Union stands ready to assist Egypt now and of course into the future.”
EU ties with long-serving Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have been cordial in the past, exposing the bloc to some criticism, with so many of his countrymen crying for him and his inner circle to go.
Britain’s foreign minister, William Hague, highlighted what Europe does not want: “We advocate democracy and then of course we have to respect how they go about it and who they would elect. But certainly we don’t want Egypt to fall into the hands of extremist elements.”
Since Egypt’s opposition groups include reformist students, online activists, old-school politicians and the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, uncertainty reigns.