Watching William Hague’s latest statement on Egypt I felt it was surprisingly supportive of the protesters. While he obviously didn’t advocate the cause of revolution he accepted those on the streets had “legitimate economic and political grievances.” He also stressed that the British government had a relationship with Egypt not with the government and condemned the repressive measures used in the country.
He said: “We have relationships and friendships with countries, and we support democratic and open institutions. It is not for us to try to choose the leaders of other countries or to say who should or should not be in power.”
“We have long put out views to the Egyptian government [that reform is needed]. I was arguing that it was very important to have a more open and democratic system, to have a viable opposition in Egypt.”
“It’s very important for the authorities to respond positively to [the protests], and to be able to hold out the hope and prospect of reform in the future. That is the answer to these situations, rather than repressions.”
While he advocated reforms rather than revolution it felt as if, for the first time, the Government’s support for Mubarak is wavering and Hague was hedging his bets.