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UN Chief Urges Calm Transition in Egypt

  • Nico Colombant

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is reiterating his call for a calm and orderly transition in Egypt.

Speaking from U.N headquarters in New York, after returning from a busy trip to Africa and Europe, the U.N. head said it was crucial that the situation in Egypt does not deteriorate into a bloodbath.

"As protests and discussions continue, I call on all parties to avoid violence and to ensure freedom of expression and information," said Ban Ki-moon.

Asked whether he was overstepping his position by calling for an immediate transition of power in Egypt as has been the demand of protesters, Mr. Ban defended his stance.

"The government leaders should listen more attentively to the genuine aspirations of people and there should be a transition and the sooner the better," he said.

The U.N. head said he did not believe his comments about the ongoing transition process violate Egyptian sovereignty.

"The details of that process and indeed the future course of their country are entirely for the Egyptian people to define," said Ban Ki-moon. "The United Nations stands ready to provide any assistance."

Mr. Ban called Egypt's government and the three-decade president Mr. Mubarak key players in the difficult Middle East peace process, and he said he hoped Egypt would continue to play an important stabilizing role in the volatile region.