Obama calls for immediate beginning of transition in Egypt

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 2 (PTI) US President Barack Obamacalled for immediate beginning of an orderly transition inEgypt, which has witnessed massive protests seeking the ousterof President Hosni Mubarak.

"What is clear, and what I indicated tonight toPresident Mubarak, is my belief that an orderly transitionmust be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must beginnow," Obama said in his speech at the White House after hespoke for 30 minutes with Mubarak, who ruling Egypt for threedecades.

The process of orderly transition must include a broadspectrum of Egyptian voices in opposition parties, he said.

"It should lead to elections that are free and fair.

And it should result in a government that''s not only groundedin democratic principles, but is also responsive to theaspirations of the Egyptian people," Obama asserted.

Referring to his conversation with Mubarak, the secondone in less than a week, Obama said the Egyptian leaderunderstood the status quo is not sustainable and that a changemust take place. "Indeed, all of us who are privileged toserve in positions of political power do so at the will of ourpeople. Through thousands of years, Egypt has known manymoments of transformation. The voices of the Egyptian peopletell us that this is one of those moments, this is one ofthose times."

US President said his administration has been in closecontact with its Egyptian counterpart and a broad range of theEgyptian people, as well as others across the region andacross the globe. "And throughout this period, we''ve stood fora set of core principles," he said.

Obama also praised Egyptian army for not using forceagainst agitators and allowing peaceful protests.

"First, we oppose violence. And I want to commend theEgyptian military for the professionalism and patriotism thatit has shown thus far in allowing peaceful protests whileprotecting the Egyptian people.

"We''ve seen tanks covered with banners, and soldiersand protesters embracing in the streets. And going forward, Iurge the military to continue its efforts to help ensure thatthis time of change is peaceful," he said. More PTI LKJ

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