Egypt reshuffle disappoints No 10


Thousands of protestors gather in Liberation Square, Cairo (AP)

Egypt needs a “broad-based, representative government” including members of the opposition to President Hosni Mubarak, Downing Street has said.

Monday’s cabinet appointments, which reshuffled familiar faces from Mr Mubarak’s regime, was a “disappointing” response to the past week’s demands for change, said Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokesman.

Britain has called for an “orderly transition” to free and fair elections in the north African country, where protesters on Tuesday called for a “march of a million people” to end Mr Mubarak’s 30 years in power.

The crisis was discussed by the Cabinet at its regular weekly meeting in 10 Downing Street, as well as by a meeting of the National Security Council attended by Mr Cameron immediately afterwards.

Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: “We have said that it is important for the Egyptian government to listen to the aspirations of its people. That means a transition to a broad-based government including opposition figures that will produce real political change.

“It is clear from yesterday’s cabinet appointments that this is not yet happening and we consider that to be disappointing.”

The spokesman insisted the UK was not seeking to “dictate” who should be in the Egyptian government. But he said opposition figurehead and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was the kind of figure whose inclusion should be considered.

The comments came as tens of thousands of people converged on the heart of Cairo, responding to a call for a million Egyptians to unite in the largest protest in a week of unceasing demands for Mr Mubarak to step down.

The Egyptian army has said it will not use force against protesters, but Britons yet to leave the crisis-stricken country were advised to stay away from public gatherings.

The Foreign Office said: “British nationals should observe instructions and advice by local security authorities and avoid public gatherings and disturbances.”

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