European Council and North Africa — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:12 pm on 7 February 2011.

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Photo of Lord Anderson of Swansea Lord Anderson of Swansea Labour 8:12, 7 February 2011

My Lords, the Statement sets out a more hard-line approach in respect of assistance to Egypt. Was this co-ordinated in any way with the US? I am recalling that Condoleezza Rice said in Cairo in 2005 that the US would no longer give priority to stability over democracy. Is the implication that, had there not been a revolution in Egypt, we would still have continued to spend billions of taxpayers' money in Egypt and neighbouring countries with no reciprocity in terms of progress on torture, the judiciary, democracy and so on? Secondly, it is of note that the Prime Minister spoke to Vice-President Suleiman. It is the Vice-President who is co-ordinating the discussions with a number of the opposition parties. Is there any implication that, as some are suggesting, the President himself is fading more into the background, leaving the lead to the Vice-President?