Spindelegger sees revolution in Egypt

Austrian ÖVP (People’s Party) Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said today (Mon) that a revolution was occurring in Egypt.He added that it was important for the European Union to react with a view to the future since no one could know what the end result would be and it was still uncertain whether there would be regime change in the country.The minister cautioned that it was too early for a commitment to cooperate with new Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Shafik since it was still uncertain whether he would engage in the necessary reforms.He also called on EU member states to consider how to evacuate EU citizens from Egypt and lamented that Austria was not well-equipped in that regard.The Austrian Foreign Ministry has said that there are around 3,100 Austrians in Egypt, mostly in Red Sea resorts and has warned Austrians not to visit the country at present. The ministry issued a travel advisory in that regard last Friday.Travel agencies TUI spokesman Josef Peterleithner said over the weekend that there had been a “normal” exchange of Austrian tourists in Red Sea resorts Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.Spindelegger attended a meeting of EU foreign ministers today in Brussels at which the situation in Egypt was expected to be discussed.Shortly before the meeting began, Spindelegger said that it “is not the right time to take sides since a revolution is occurring and its outcome is uncertain.” He added that the most-important thing was to urge all sides to stop engaging in violence.As for former International Atomic Energy Agency chief and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mohamed ElBaradei, who returned to Cairo from Vienna last Thursday, the minister said “it is unclear” whether ElBaradei would become the new Egyptian leader, which would be determined by the Egyptian people.The minister added that he had spoken with ElBaradei last week and would try to make contact with him again.Spindelegger noted that EU foreign ministers would endeavour to adopt a joint position on Egypt calling for stability. Whether they had waited too long in that regard was “an academic question,” he claimed.