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Clearly explain steps that lead to democracy

Washington: US President Barack Obama has asked Egypt to explain in "clear" and "unambiguous" language the "step by step" process that will lead to democracy in the country, after its President Hosni Mubarak today refused to step down from power.

Expressing his disappointment over the steps announced by Mubarak, in which he delegated some of his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman and did not step down from his post, Obama, in a statement asked the Mubarak regime to spell out in "clear and unambiguous language the step by step process" that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek.

Obama, who held meetings with his national security team, after Mubarak`s speech, also demanded the Egyptian government to immediately lift emergency and start meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition.

"The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient," he said in his statement.

Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world, Obama said.

"The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity."

Noting that his administration had said from the beginning of the unrest that the future of Egypt will be determined by its people, Obama said US has also been clear that it stands for a set of core principles.

"We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met.

We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy.

"To that end, we believe that the emergency law should be lifted. We believe that meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition and Egyptian civil society should address the key questions confronting Egypt`s future–protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens; revising the Constitution and other laws to demonstrate irreversible change; and jointly developing a clear roadmap to elections that are free and fair," the US President said.

Obama said it was imperative that the Egyptian government does not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality.

"Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society.

"We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged," he said.

The people of Egypt must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America, Obama added.

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