BRUSSELS — Egypt needs a peaceful transition to democracy, EU foreign ministers urged Monday, warning the country's citizens to be on guard against a takeover by religious militants.
"I am sure Egyptians will be in a position to choose democracy and civil rights, not extremism, not radicalism," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.
Frattini spoke ahead of the monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers, where the situation in Egypt and Tunisia will top the agenda.
The European Union has traditionally had particularly close relations with both nations as part of its partnerships with countries on the eastern and southern rims of the Mediterranean.
But in recent days, the 27-nation bloc has been seeking to distance itself from the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Still, it has been criticized for its reluctance to criticize Mubarak directly and for waiting for the US to take the lead.