Washington, Feb 2(ANI): United States President Barack Obama has said an orderly political transition in Egypt "must begin now", and lead to free and fair elections.
Obama's comment follows the announcement by Egypt President Hosni Mubarak that he would not stand for re-election in September.
The US President said that he has spoken to Mubarak, and that the Egyptian leader recognised "that the status quo is not sustainable and a change must take place".
"An orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now," the BBC quoted Obama, as saying.
"Furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties," he added.
He further stressed that it was up to the Egyptian people to choose their leaders, and that the US would continue to offer support and friendship to them.
"It should lead to elections that are free and fair. And it should result in a government that's not only grounded in democratic principles, but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people," Obama said.
Obama also praised Egypt's military "for the professionalism and patriotism that it has shown thus far in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people". (ANI)