UN's Ban: Political transition in Egypt, if any, should take place now

Ban Ki Moon
United Nations, Feb 3: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday once more urged restraint by all sides in Egypt, as pro- and anti-government protesters clashed during demonstrations in the capital, Cairo, and said that any political transition should take place sooner rather than later.

On Tuesday, President Hosni Mubarak announced that he intended to serve out the remainder of his current term, but would not seek another term as president in September. "There needs to be a very peaceful and orderly transition; if any transition is to be taken, it should be done now," Ban told reporters in London after meeting with United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Secretary-General stated that the violence in Egypt was unacceptable, and condemned any attacks on peaceful protests. The leaders should listen more attentively to the "genuine and sincere" wish of the people, Ban said.

In a lecture he delivered at Oxford University, Ban said the protests "reflect the great frustration of the Egyptian people about the lack of change over the past few decades. This discontent calls for bold reforms, not repression," he added.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that as many as 300 people may have been killed so far, over 3,000 injured and hundreds arrested, according to the UN human rights office. Ban noted that, for the last decade, the UN has been warning of the need for change in the region, including through its Arab Human Development Reports.

"It is important, at this juncture, that an orderly and peaceful transition should take place," he stated. "I urge all the parties to engage in such a dialogue and such a process without any further delay."

Saying that the danger of instability across the Middle East should not be underestimated, the Secretary-General said the UN stood ready to provide any assistance to such reform efforts by Egypt or any other Arab nation.


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