Obama urges 'immediate, orderly' transition in Egypt

Updated: 2011-02-10 11:15


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WASHINGTON - In a phone conversation with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia over Egypt unrest on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama called for "immediate steps toward an orderly transition" in the most populous nation of the Arab world.

Such a transition is "meaningful, lasting, legitimate and responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people," the White House quoted Obama as saying in a statement.

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The president "also reaffirmed the long-term commitment of the United States to peace and security in the region," it said.

Mass anti-government protests erupted on January 25 in Egypt, calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak's rule for 30 years. The government has held talks with opposition groups and established committees to amend the constitution and carry out other reforms, but protesters say they will be protesting as long as Mubarak stays in power.

Washington has apparently shifted its stance on Egypt in recent days, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking of supporting the Egyptian government to ensure a quick and orderly power transition.

In an obvious bid not to anger unyielding protesters who insist Mubarak must go immediately, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Wednesday that it is important that what the Egyptian government does do is "seen as credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people," but "it's our view that what they've put forward so far does not meet that threshold."

The Egyptian government responded with accusations that Washington is imposing its will on Egypt by dictating on how to move on through the crisis, as Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit told PBS television on Wednesday.


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