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(Publicerat igår kl 23.44)
Carl Bildt. (Photo: Bertil Ericsson/Scanpix

Bildt concerned over Egypt's future

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt says he is worried about a violent confrontation in Egypt following the speech of President Mubarak on Thursday evening where he refused to resign.

Bildt says the president has promised to turn over some powers to the vice president but that he doesn't specify which ones. He adds that the president's promise of free elections in September must be preceded by major changes in the constitution and that earlier decisions to disregard the laws create a situation without knowing where this will lead.

The Swedish foreign minister admits that there is little that Sweden and the rest of the European Union can do - and that earlier EU appeals have been made for a national dialogue and an agreement for a peaceful preparations for new and democratic presidential elections.

Some news reports claim that Mubarak and his family have left Egypt.

As tensions continue to escalate in Egypt, much of the world's attention is focused right now on what's going on in Cairo. Some of those watching most attentively are the many Swedish Egyptians. One of them is a Liberal Party mayor in the town of Uddevalla in Southern Sweden. Essam Al-Naggar says he was disappointed and distressed following President Hosni Mubarak's speech thursday, where he announced he wouldn't be standing down.

"I'm very disappointed and feel a great sense of powerlessness because I'm in Sweden", he says, "He had given us hope that we might get what we had wanted, but it seems Mubarak hadn't understood the will of the people"

Mayor Al-Naggar is also concerned about the prospect of extreme Islamists taking power, even though the majority in Egypt want a true democracy to take shape in the nation. And should democracy take hold, Essam Al-Naggar says he would seriously consider doing his bit for his country.

"Yes, if I get asked of course I'll think about it", he says, "but a lot depends on the conditions and the set up. It would be an honour for me to be asked. I'm one of those Egyptians that has made a career for himself abroad, that's why I'm following the events closely in Egypt, and I hope that they can find the right constellation that can lift Egypt back on its feet again. Egypt is a big country and it has to be led properly", Essam Al-Naggar says.

Essam says he has been impressed by the efforts of the young demonstrators on Tahir Square in Cairo, and he says it is they that should be leading the efforts to democratize the country, and not President Mubarak, nor vice-president Suleiman.

"There are a lot of potential leaders in Egypt, for example the younger generation", he told SR International's Alberico Lecchini, "They have to be involved in the reconstruction of the country. Egypt is a young country, he adds, the average age is just 22, and this revolution is being led by the youth, the youth from the universities".

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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