The European Commission firmly believes that rule of law, respect for fundamental rights, free and fair elections and a pluralist democracy anchored in an active civil society are the best means to achieve stability and prosperity.
These are the very foundational principles of the European Union and are also the core values that underpin the cooperation with our partner countries, notably those that are part of the European Neighbourhood Policy in the Southern rim of the Mediterranean.
European and Mediterranean countries share a common history and cultural heritage. The basic hopes and ambitions of people in the South of the Mediterranean do not differ from those living in the North of the Mediterranean: dignity, well-being and respect for personal freedoms.
The European Commission stands ready to step up its assistance to Egypt and its people in this transition."
9:30 a.m. The Egyptian military has been firing warning shots in the air to try and calm the protests that have turned violent in Tahrir Square, Al Jazeera reports.
8:35 a.m. Anderson Cooper is reporting on CNN that the two factions -- the pro-Mubarak group and the anti-Mubarak protesters -- have divided into sides with a small "no-man's land" between them. The two sides are throwing rocks, bottles, and whatever else they can grab.
8:35 a.m. More on Yemen from National Journal's Sara Sorcher.
8:25 a.m. CNN is reporting that men on horseback and and camels have charged into Tahrir Square, whipping and lashing at people on the ground.
8:05 a.m. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on MSNBC this morning: “Our relationship with Egypt since 1979 has been critical to stability and peace in the Middle East. They reached a peace agreement with Israel and we said we'll stand by you, and we have, working with their military to make certain that there weren't reprisals and we have a peaceful situation. If a vacuum is created as Mubarak leaves, and I believe he will, the question is, what will fill the vacuum?”
7:50 a.m. From CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen, who is on the street in Cairo: “Well, what we're seeing from our somewhat elevated position is that these two sides are still going at it. We had a little bit of what appeared to be tear gas used on the square just a couple of minutes ago which was strange. As we've been saying there aren't any law enforcement authorities there. And the military seems to be standing by. Also, the other thing that we saw clearly here from our position is there appeared to be at least one injured person who was carried away and then laid down next to one of the tanks in the square. If you look toward the square there seem to be more and more people coming into it as these clashes continue. From our position we can see people pelting rocks, pelting what appeared to be sticks or something. Some even told me that people were throwing shoes at each other as these clashes continue. And the scene really and interestingly enough seems to be not one where you have two clear fronts but where people seem to be mingling with each other and these clashes erupt. It's going to be very, very difficult to separate these two sides if, indeed there is some sort of force that's going to try to do that. Because from my position here, I can actually see the soldiers here just sort of hanging out, staying in their tanks and not really doing anything to try and de-escalate or stop the situation."
7:40 a.m. News of President Hosni Mubarak's decision not to run for reelection has sent Twitter aflutter. The Atlantic Wire has some good responses.
7:35 a.m. Pro-Mubarak forces and anti-Mubarak protesters are clashing in the streets.
7:30 a.m. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a speedy transition in Egypt as pressure continues to mount for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.
Mubarak announced late Tuesday that he would not seek reelection in September, responding to more than a week of demonstrations, but his announcement has not mollified the masses. Following his remarks, protesters continued to crowd the streets of Cairo and other major cities in Egypt chanting the words “Leave! Leave!” and calling for Mubarak to step down immediately.