Egypt calls for help to protect democracy
Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf on Thursday urged international support for his country's drive for democracy after its uprising this year, saying Egypt was key to the rattled Arab region.
Sharaf held talks in Paris with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and businessmen as the G8 summit of the world's most powerful nations in the French town of Deauville paid particular attention to the regional turmoil.
He said his meetings looked at mutual cooperation and "how, actually, to protect our efforts toward a real democracy in Egypt because real democracy in Egypt will be reflected in other countries, definitely".
"Strengthening and having a strong Egypt means a stronger area," he said, adding "we need G8 countries and G8 countries also need Egypt, as Egypt is a focal country in this area."
In snowballing revolts earlier this year dubbed the Arab Spring, Tunisians overthrew the 23-year-old regime of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, while Egyptians tossed out Hosni Mubarak after 20 years.
Both leaders had let their economies crumble and unemployment fester, fuelling the uprisings.
France has urged G8 members, many of them facing budget crises of their own, to offer billions in aid to support the post-revolutionary governments in Tunisia and Egypt.
© 2011 AFP