The British Prime David Cameron has arrived in Egypt, only ten days after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, making him the first foreign leader to visit the county embarking on a transition to a new government.
Analysts have indicated that it is somewhat unusual for a major world leader to visit a country that is still in the process of setting up a new government, with many questions surrounding it.
Cameron has emphasized that he will campaign for the establishment of democracy in Egypt, which is currently under an interim military rule. He is scheduled to hold talks with defense minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (head of the supreme military council that has ruled the country since Mubarak resigned) and Prime Minister, Ahmed Mohammed Shafiq.
This is a great opportunity for us to go and talk to those currently running Egypt to make sure this really is a genuine transition from military rule to civilian rule and see what friendly countries like Britain and others in Europe can do to help,” he told reporters on the flight to Cairo. I am particularly keen... to get to Egypt and to be one of the first people there.
Cameron is also slated to meet with opposition figures, although not with the Muslim Brotherhood, the banned Islamist group, which is suspected of having a significant presence in the protests that roiled the country for two weeks.
What is so refreshing about what's been happening is that this is not an Islamist revolt,” Cameron said. “This is not extremists on the streets. This is people who want to have the sort of basic freedoms that we take for granted in the UK.
Cameron also indicated that the “huge ties of history and culture” between Britain and Egypt puts him in a good stead to recommend freedom and democracy for the country.
Before arriving in Cairo, Cameron waded into the subject of Libya, where government troops have used deadly force against protesters, killing at least 200 over the past few days.
Our message, as it has been throughout this - I think we have been extremely consistent in saying that the response to the aspirations people are showing on the streets of these countries must be one of reform not repression,” he said.
We can see what is happening in Libya which is completely appalling and unacceptable as the regime is using the most vicious forms of repression against people who want to see that country, which is one of the most closed and one of the most autocratic, make progress.”