Norway’s government leaders joined their counterparts all over the world in hailing the perseverance of the Egyptian people who succeeded in forcing change through non-violent means. “The widespread will of the people has won,” said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
As jubilation continued through the weekend, and cleaning up began in Cairo, Stoltenberg noted that Egypt “now faces major challenges, and it’s critical that all parties contribute to a peaceful transition to democratic rule.”
Norway has long been involved in efforts to secure peace in the Middle East, and Stoltenberg said his government was ready to help the transition if called upon. “The government wants to support the important work that the Egyptian people now must begin,” Stoltenberg said.
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said he spoke Friday afternoon to both the secretary general of the Arab League, Amre Moussa, and to Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, who returned to Egypt during the massive demonstrations in over the past two weeks. Both stressed that the pro-democracy movement in Egypt involved widespread public participation and that clear reforms are critical in order for people to express their democratic will.
Støre was relieved that the Egyptian military claimed it would honor all international agreements, not least its peace pact with Israel. Myriad questions remain, Støre said, and “a lot will depend on the military’s ability to play its role in a responsible manner.”
Støre was clearly impressed over how the will of the people had prevailed in Egypt, and said the Egyptian people deserve much honour that the demonstrations and eventual resignation of President Hosni Mubarak occurred without massive violence.
“There is reason to express great admiration for the Egyptian people, for the calm and dignity that prevailed as well,” Støre told news bureau NTB.