News / Middle East

Egypt Rejects Western Calls for Quick Political Transition

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak speaks on Egyptian state television, Feb 1, 2011
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak speaks on Egyptian state television, Feb 1, 2011

The Egyptian foreign ministry has rejected calls from Western powers for an immediate start to a political transition in Egypt.

The ministry released a statement Wednesday saying the aim of the calls from "foreign parties" has been to "incite the internal situation in Egypt."

A number of world powers have urged Egypt to step up its timetable for a political transition, after President Hosni Mubarak announced Tuesday that he would not seek another term in office amid mass demonstrations demanding that he step down immediately.

On Wednesday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged Mr. Mubarak to respond quickly to anti-government protesters seeking the transition.  The EU issued a statement calling on Egypt to begin an "orderly transition" with reforms that include "free and fair elections."  

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Mr. Mubarak recognizes that the "status quo is not sustainable."  Mr. Obama also said he had told the Egyptian president that an orderly transition "must be peaceful and must begin now."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday he wishes to see a transition of power in Egypt happen "without delay" and "without violence."

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Egypt's orderly transition is "urgent" but must also be credible.  In a Wednesday speech to Parliament, he said Britain stands with those in Egypt who want freedom and democracy.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday the Egyptian people do not trust the country's current administration.  He said it would be best for Egypt to allow an interim administration to carry the country to democracy.  Separately, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said it was important for Egypt to keep the transition period short.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced concern about Egypt's future relations with his country.  A Wednesday statement from his office says Mr. Netanyahu told diplomats that the international community must insist that any Egyptian government maintains peace with Israel.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said developments in Egypt have opened the way for a new political beginning.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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