AMANPOUR: What do you understand the United States' position to be now, publicly and behind the scenes? Their special envoy, Frank Wisner, has said that for reform to happen, for the constitution to be amended, President Mubarak needs to be at the helm of that process.
SHOUKRY: The U.S. administration I think can only be referred -- can only refer you to the statement by President Obama, quite an extensive statement last Friday, in which he indicated on several occasions that this was an Egyptian process, that this was an issue that the Egyptian people would decide, and that the importance was an orderly and meaningful transition of the presidency and the new direction towards greater democratic and economic and social reforms.
Ambassador Wisner is a recognized, very competent and -- and experienced diplomat, as was mentioned by everybody associated to the administration, the spokesman of -- the White House spokesman, and I'm sure his opinion is highly valued.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, a consensus seems to have come out of the meeting today between Vice President Suleiman, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others that they will form a committee to start talking about amending the constitution, but importantly that they have agreed to lift the decades-old state of emergency. How significant is that? That, of course, has been responsible for the oppressive political atmosphere and the repressive security atmosphere here.
SHOUKRY: It would be a very significant move. It has been a longstanding demand of most of the opposition and many segments of Egyptian society to guarantee that all political activity is undertaken under normal law and in the confines of the normal judiciary. So it would be a significant step and an indication of confidence that the political process is moving forward.
AMANPOUR: And, lastly, you have seen -- the world has seen the appalling images of the crackdown on the reporters and the journalists trying to tell this story. How bad has that been for Egypt? And why was that allowed to happen?
SHOUKRY: It's a deplorable situation, one that has been condemned by various officials in the Egyptian government as totally unacceptable. But, unfortunately, the security vacuum and the difficult situation with many different segments and proponents of these demonstrations have caused a difficult security environment, and I'm confident that this will not be reoccurring.
AMANPOUR: And, Ambassador, just one last thing. The violence against the protesters, how bad has that been for Egypt? And why was that allowed to happen?
SHOUKRY: This is a very wide protest movement. The emotions were high and the situation was tense. And the capability of the military to handle this sort of situation has -- was not at the outset sufficient. That has been rectified, and now the military has more men on the ground to be able to handle this situation. And as you have noticed during the last two or three day, the demonstrations have been underway under the protection of the military without any incidence of violence.
AMANPOUR: Ambassador Shoukry, thank you for joining us, and certainly the atmosphere has changed completely. It is peaceful on the streets right now.
When we return, what is the Obama administration doing? We get that view from ABC's Jake Tapper and our very special Cairo roundtable when we return.