By London World Desk
Following are official comments on the crisis from around the world:
“The big picture is that there is something big, something historic happening in the Arab world.
“The genie is out of the bottle and I don’t know whether anyone is able to or wants to put it back in. I know I don’t.
“It’s too early to say whether this is the Berlin Wall moment, or the 1989 moment, because there are of course huge differences between Europe and the Arab world and there are huge differences within the Arab world countries.
“There is, however, one general trend that I think we can all agree on: those countries which are not doing economically well, where people do not feel that their welfare is taken care of, that they don’t have an equal opportunity to prosper, those are the ones that have a tendency to start moving.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron told BBC TV:
“It’s very important that if it’s President Obama or whether it’s me, we’re not saying who should run this country or that country.
“It’s sensible to say that you do have a choice here, this repression, if you opt for that, that will end badly for Egypt, badly for the world. It’s the wrong choice to make.”
Germany’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said at a regular news conference:
“We are asking that the current president respect the freedom of opinion of the people and their other civil rights, not to resort to force under any circumstances — that would only help extremists. We are not going to say anyone should step down or someone else should take office.
“That’s something the Egyptians need to decide and where we clearly request from the Egyptian government that all those who want to stand for election can do so.
“Those conditions have to be created and we hold the Egyptian government accountable on that but we won’t ask anyone to step down.”
Middle East peace envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told Sky News from Jerusalem:
“What is inevitable is there’s going to be change, the question is what change and how do you manage it.
“What is necessary, and this is where I think the western governments, America, the European Union, have got to get themselves into position where they can not merely commentate on this situation but help partner that process of change.”
“I’ve said for years, this is a region in transition. The question is where is it transiting to?
“It can transit to a concept of society and the economy and politics that is 21st century. Or it can be taken backwards into a very reactionary form of religious autocracy, we don’t want that.”
Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on Austrian radio:
“There is nothing better we can do at the moment. At the end of the day this is a revolution … and (we know) from past examples we have to wait and see how it ends.
Asked if EU foreign ministers would adopt a united front at meeting today: “What I expect is that we agree on the steps, on the procedure that we will use together. With our national foreign policies we all have to pull in the same direction as the European Union.”