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Obama calls for immediate beginning of transition in Egypt

Washington: US President Barack Obama called for immediate beginning of an orderly transition in Egypt, which has witnessed massive protests seeking the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

"What is clear, and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak, is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now," Obama said in his speech at the White House after he spoke for 30 minutes with Mubarak, who is ruling Egypt for three decades.

The process of orderly transition must include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices in opposition parties, he said.

"It should lead to elections that are free and fair.

And it should result in a government that`s not only grounded in democratic principles, but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people," Obama asserted.

Referring to his conversation with Mubarak, the second one in less than a week, Obama said the Egyptian leader understood the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place. "Indeed, all of us who are privileged to serve in positions of political power do so at the will of our people. Through thousands of years, Egypt has known many moments of transformation. The voices of the Egyptian people tell us that this is one of those moments, this is one of those times."

US President said his administration has been in close contact with its Egyptian counterpart and a broad range of the Egyptian people, as well as others across the region and across the globe. "And throughout this period, we`ve stood for a set of core principles," he said.

Obama also praised Egyptian army for not using force against agitators and allowing peaceful protests.

"First, we oppose violence. And I want to commend the Egyptian military for the professionalism and patriotism that it has shown thus far in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people.

"We`ve seen tanks covered with banners, and soldiers and protesters embracing in the streets. And going forward, I urge the military to continue its efforts to help ensure that this time of change is peaceful," he said.

President Obama said he supports rights of speech and information to the Egyptians and US will continue to back democracy in Egypt.

"We stand for universal values, including the rights of the Egyptian people to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and the freedom to access information. Once more we`ve seen the incredible potential for technology to empower citizens, and the dignity of those who stand up for a better future.

"And going forward, the United States will continue to stand up for democracy and the universal rights that all human beings deserve, in Egypt and around the world," he said.

US will continue to extend the hand of partnership and friendship to Egypt, and it stands ready to provide any assistance that is necessary to help the Egyptian people as they manage the aftermath of these protests.

"Over the last few days, the passion and the dignity that has been demonstrated by the people of Egypt has been an inspiration to people around the world, including here in the United States, and to all those who believe in the inevitability of human freedom," Obama said.

"To the people of Egypt, particularly the young people of Egypt, I want to be clear: We hear your voices. I have an unyielding belief that you will determine your own destiny, and seize the promise of a better future for your children and your grandchildren. And I say that as someone who is committed to a partnership between the United States and Egypt," he added.

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