Russia's Medvedev urges legitimate polls in Egypt: report
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday urged Egypt to hold legitimate elections and respect religious rights following the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, reports said.
"Russia hopes democratic procedures in Egypt will be fully restored and all legitimate electoral procedures will be used for this," Medvedev said in a statement, the ITAR-TASS Russian news agency reported.
Medvedev said that a "strong, democratic Egypt (was) ... an important factor in the continuation of the Middle Eastern peace process."
He also stressed the need for religious freedoms and a lack of sectarian violence, saying that "Russia "considers it extremely important that Egypt retains peace and unity between different confessions."
Earlier Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement calling for Egyptians not to resort to violence and to strengthen democratic structures, in the first official reaction from Moscow.
Moscow also warned against outside intervention, saying that Egyptians should decide their own future.
"Just as before we are convinced that the Egyptian people are capable themselves of defining their fate and the future of their country without any outside interference," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
© 2011 AFP