U.K.’s Cameron Urges Peaceful Reforms in Egypt in CNN Interview

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron urged an end to violence and a strengthening of democracy and civil rights in Egypt in a CNN interview.

“What we support is evolution, reform, not revolution,” Cameron said, according to a transcript of the interview from CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria’s GPS” program, scheduled to be aired today. “Evolution and reform so that people who have grievances get those grievances met.”

Thousands of Egyptian protesters massed yesterday in central Cairo for a fifth day of protests, in defiance of a military-imposed curfew, after Mubarak didn’t resign. Forty people were killed and another 1,100 people have been injured in the clashes that have swept major cities including Cairo and Alexandria, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry.

“The building blocks of democracy,” such as civil rights, rule of law, a military that “plays a proper role in society, those building blocks are even more important in countries prey to Islamic extremism than in other countries,” said Cameron.

Mubarak, 82, is “a friend of Britain,” Cameron said. “Britain has good relations with Egypt. We’ve worked together over many issues,” he said, “not least the need to combat Islamic extremism.”

Backing Repression

Asked about an allegation made by Mohamed Elbaradei, the former head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency and now a leader of the Egyptian opposition, that the U.K. and the U.S. have backed 30 years of martial law and repression in Egypt, Cameron replied, “I don’t believe that’s the case.”

Omar Suleiman, the head of Egypt’s intelligence services, was sworn in yesterday as the country’s vice president, according to state TV, after the government of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif resigned at Mubarak’s request.

Cameron said on CNN that new arrangements put in place in Europe to support the financially vulnerable countries such as Greece and Portugal “don’t involve Britain. That’s right because we’re not in the Euro.” He said it was “right for us” to make a bilateral loan to Ireland, which he called “an old friend and a very strong partner” of the U.K.