Transition must start now, EU tells Egypt
European Union leaders have called on President Hosni Mubarak to heed protesters' calls and begin an immediate transition of power in Egypt, Press TV reported.
In a joint statement issued on Friday, the EU's 27 leaders condemned violence against Egyptian protesters in the strongest possible terms and urged both sides to show restraint so that Egypt can make an orderly transition.
"The European Council is following with utmost concern the deteriorating situation in Egypt," Reuters quoted the statement as saying.
"All parties should show restraint and avoid further violence and begin an orderly transition to a broad-based government," the EU leaders said.
"This transition process must start now," it added.
British Prime Minister David Cameron also sent a message to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warning him that the credibility of his government is at stake.
"The message is this, that if we see on the streets of Cairo today state-sponsored violence or the hiring of thugs to beat up protesters, then Egypt and its regime would lose any remaining credibility and support it has in the eyes of the watching world, including Britain," Cameron said.
This has been Europe's toughest response since the revolution began in Egypt last month.
Up to now, EU leaders have been accused of doing too little too late.
Meanwhile, European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton is expected to meet Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman in the coming days in order to discuss ways Europe can support the transition process.
Reports also say the United States is mulling over a crisis plan that includes the transition of power from President Hosni Mubarak to Suleiman.
European heads of state and government have gathered in Brussels for an economic summit to attempt to reach an agreement on measures for greater economic policy coordination.