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Ashton gives EU line on Egypt

Ashton gives EU line on Egypt
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euronews Brussels correspondent Sergio Cantone spoke to the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Catherine Ashton, about the conclusions of the European leaders’ Council, about Egyptian politics and the people’s uprising.

euronews, Sergio Cantone: “What does an orderly transition mean?”

Catherine Ashton: “Well, it means that the government has got to get into dialogue with the opposition groups and with civil society. It means working out what needs to happen, to move forward, to build towards democracy and the elections that will need to come. And it means building up the institutional framework to do that, so I hope we’ll see that happening in Egypt soon.”

euronews: “When you mention the opposition, do you also mean the Muslim Brotherhood?”

Catherine Ashton: “Look, the opposition parties in Egypt are diverse. It is important that the government talk to those opposition groups and talk to civil society, groups of ordinary people who have come together in these demonstrations, to say that they want things to change, and it’s working and looking for a forward plan.”

euronews: “Do you think that with Mubarak still in power negotiations with all the opposition are possible?”

Catherine Ashton: “It’s very important that the Egyptian people choose the way that they will move forward. It is not for us to do that. It is for us to help build the systems, the processes, the democratic building blocks to help them do that. And that is what we have been doing in Tunisia: working out with the transitional government exactly what they need.”

euronews: “Is the Egyptian army playing an important role? Will the Egyptian army play a more important role after Mubarak?”

Catherine Ashton: “When I spoke to Vice President Suleiman last night, one of the things we talked about was the army keeping the peace, in other words making sure that civilians are protected on the streets, that journalists are protected on the streets, and I know today that a call has gone out to the army to do that, from the government. It is very important that they do that role.”

euronews: “The European Parliament, or many of its members, have heavily criticised the External Action Service of the EU. What do you think about this criticism?”

Catherine Ashton: “Well, members of the European Parliament and I had a good debate the other night. What I pointed out to them is that the External Action Service in its fifth week has done a magnificent job. Our ambassadors have done a fantastic job on the ground. We have been coordinating what has been happening across Europe, the response to this, and will continue to do that and move forward.”