US asks Mubarak to begin meaningful step towards transition

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Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 3 (PTI) Toughening its stand againstembattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the ObamaAdministration today asked the Mubarak Government toimmediately start meaningful step towards transition in Egypt,which has experienced massive pro-democracy protests for morethan a week now.

"The time for transition, as the (US) President has said,is now. It''s important that the world see some concrete stepstoward meaningful change," White House Press Secretary RobertGibbs told reporters travelling with US President Barack Obamaon Air Force One on their way to University Park,Pennsylvania.

"That change should begin with broad-based negotiationsbetween the government and the opposition," Gibbs said as hestrongly condemned the violence in Egypt against theprotestors. The government of Egypt has to ensure thatpeaceful protests can take place," Gibbs said.

"We have obviously seen the remarks of the Prime Ministertoday and hope that his acknowledgment that anybody that isinvolved in this will be held accountable is something thatthe government is serious about," he said.

Stating that "systematic targeting" of journalists inEgypt "is completely and totally unacceptable" Gibbs demandedimmediate release of any journalist who have been detained.

"We need to be clear that the world is watching theactions that are being taken right now in Egypt. The actionsof targeting journalists is unacceptable. And thosejournalists, if they are being detained should be releasedimmediately," he said.

Gibbs said the US President is constantly being briefedon this issue.

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