NEWSREADER: And more now on the situation in Egypt. Foreign Minister Kevin
Rudd joins us on the line. Mr Rudd, thanks for your time this
KEVIN RUDD: Good to be with you.
NEWSREADER: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, we heard
him say a few moments ago at the White House, that the
people of Egypt need to decide what is going to happen
there. How do you see that?
KEVIN RUDD: Well my more immediate concern is to the well being of
Australians in Cairo and for Australians considering the
possibility of travelling to Egypt at this time. We're in
the process of amending our travel advisory for
Australians to read: reconsider your need to travel. That
is because of our concerns about the security situation,
not just in Cairo but in other cities.
I've just spoken to our Ambassador in Cairo. In fact I've
spoken to her twice in the last several hours.
Notwithstanding the curfew that has been announced by the
Egypt authorities, there are still large scale protests
in the streets. Also there are some tanks in the streets
I'm advised as well. It therefore appears as if we are in
a difficult security situation and our first and foremost
concern is the well being of Australians in the country.
We have about 800 or more registered Australians within
the country. We suspect that there are more Australians
in the country than that. The Embassy is in contact with
international hotels in Cairo to provide basic security
information. But again I would emphasise through your
program that we are amending our travel advisory to state
“reconsider your need to travel” to Egypt.
NEWSREADER: Do you have any concerns that any Australians are under
direct threat in any of these cities where the rioting is
taking place in Egypt?
KEVIN RUDD: We don't have information to that effect at this stage
but as you will have concluded from what you're seeing on
your television screen, and based on my own conversations
with our Ambassador, just now and again several hours
ago, the security situation on the streets is tense. The
Egyptian people are waiting for an address to them by
President Mubarak. But as I said before, notwithstanding
the announcement of a curfew for this evening in Cairo,
it appears that that curfew proclamation has been
So therefore, again I go back to the more basic question
at this stage, which is the well being of Australians in
that part of the world, and again draw their attention
carefully to look at the most recent revisions to the
Australian Government's travel advisory, and to say to
Australians who have friends or relatives in Egypt, at
the moment that the Australian Embassy is in the process
of contacting and communicating with Australians who are
currently in Cairo and other centres within Egypt.
NEWSREADER: Mr Rudd if I can turn now to what is happening there and
what you see as the future, do you think the people -
they're calling for freedoms. They want more freedoms in
their country. What's Australia's view on that? Do we
KEVIN RUDD: Well the political situation is highly fluid, as a number
of my colleagues from elsewhere around the world have
said. We have long supported democratic transformation
across the Middle East. We have equally strongly argued
that this transformation should occur peacefully and
without violence. That remains our view in terms of
recent developments in Egypt as well.
I should add to what I just said before that earlier
today I met with and had discussions with the Foreign
Minister of Egypt in Addis Ababa, where we were both
attending the African Union Summit and we discussed these
matters in some detail there as well.
NEWSREADER: The White House is suggesting that the Egyptians turn the
internet back on and the social networks, that sort of
thing, and of course to end the violence. You'd be
supportive of that, would you?
KEVIN RUDD: Well I've not seen White House statements to that effect.
I go back to what I said before. We ourselves have long
supported democratic transformation across the Middle
East and across the Arab world, but equally we strongly
emphasise the importance for those things to occur
peacefully and without violence.
Therefore we should be exceptionally vigilant about what
is occurring in Egypt at the moment. And again I go back
to my earlier remarks, we must be first and foremost
concerned, at times of great instability and violence on
the streets in Cairo, about the well being of
NEWSREADER: Kevin Rudd we thank you very much for your time on Sky News.
KEVIN RUDD: Thank you for having me on the program.
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