David Cameron has called for a “proper orderly transition” to democratic government in Egypt.
The Prime Minister said he had warned President Hosni Mubarak in a phone conversation that a repressive response to the protests seen in Egypt over the past week would “end badly” for his country and the world, and urged him to opt instead for reform.
But Mr Cameron stopped short of saying that Mr Mubarak should stand down, insisting it was not for the UK to choose who should lead other countries.
He and US President Barack Obama agreed, in a telephone conversation on Sunday night, that they wanted to see Egypt offer its people greater rights and freedoms, as well as the protection of the rule of law.
Protesters are still camped out on the streets of Cairo, after six days of mass demonstrations demanding an end to Mr Mubarak’s three-decade rule, and there is little sign of an end to protests despite a show of strength by the military on Sunday and more than 100 deaths over the past week.
Mr Cameron called on the Egyptian authorities to “go down the path of reform and not repression”.
He told BBC1’s Breakfast: “I have spoken to President Mubarak and had a conversation with President Obama last night, and we were very much agreed that we want the response of the Egyptian government to be that there needs to be a proper orderly transition to a more democratic situation, where there are greater rights, greater freedoms, better rule of law and that sort of reform, to show to people in Egypt that their concerns and their aspirations are being listened to.
“It is very important that whether it is President Obama or me, we are not saying who should run this country or that country.
“But I think in the conversations we have with President Mubarak and others it is sensible to say ‘You do have a choice here. This repression – if you opt for that, that will end badly for Egypt, badly for the world. It is the wrong choice’.”
Foreign Secretary William Hague will meet his EU counterparts in Brussels later for talks on the situation in Egypt at which he said they would “collectively underline the need for change”.