Update on the Situation in Egypt

(No. 49 - February 3, 2011 - 4:10 p.m. ET) The following is an edited transcript of a statement made to media by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the situation in Egypt. The statement was made in the foyer of the House of Commons at 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 3, 2011:

"The situation in Egypt remains volatile. We will continue evacuation measures today, February 3, 2011. All remaining Canadian citizens who wish to depart Egypt on a Canadian government chartered flight, and who are able to do so, should immediately proceed to the Cairo airport, Terminal 1, departures area, as soon as possible today, February 3. We will continue assisting Canadians as long as the need exists.

"We strongly urge all Canadians to leave Egypt.

"As you know, yesterday I spoke with my Egyptian counterpart, Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. The Minister assured me that he would personally ensure Canadians are able to leave safely. I have asked our ambassador in Cairo to follow up on my call with the Minister and ensure that Canadians, particularly Canadian journalists, are guaranteed safety.

"We are particularly concerned at reports of arrests of journalists. All detained journalists should be immediately released and their media equipment returned.

"We were aware earlier today of the detention of two Canadian journalists from The Globe and Mail in Cairo. They have been released. We are aware others have been targeted and intimidated in Cairo from RDI, CBC, CTV and TVA. We are working to ensure their safety and provide consular services to them.

"I also instructed my officials to call in the Egyptian ambassador in Ottawa to express my grave concerns regarding the targeting of foreign journalists and to urge that his government ensure that the army guarantees their safety.

"Yesterday in the House of Commons, during the emergency debate on the situation in Egypt, I reiterated that Canada continues to urge Egypt to improve respect for human rights, in particular freedom of expression and freedom of association. This includes the rights of journalists.

"We continue to follow the situation closely and urge calm.

"I strongly condemn the use of violence by all sides and urge restraint.

"We extend our condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and wish a speedy recovery to those injured during recent events in Egypt. If the Government of Egypt was in any way involved in instigating attacks on the peaceful demonstrators, it would be unacceptable."

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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