Britain calls for 'urgent' Egypt transition

11th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday called for an "urgent but orderly transition" in Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak refused to stand down during a speech to the nation.

"We're studying very closely what the president and the vice president of Egypt have said," Hague said in a Foreign Office statement.

"All we want in the UK is for them to be able to settle their own differences in a peaceful and democratic way.

"That's why we've called for from the beginning of this crisis for an urgent but orderly transition to a more broadly-based government in Egypt.

"In the meantime we look to the Egyptian authorities to protect the right to peaceful protest."

Mubarak was widely expected to relinquish control to vice president Omar Suleiman, but he angered protesters by saying he would only hand over certain unspecified powers.

"It's not immediately clear what powers are being handed over and what the full implications are," the foreign secretary, in Bahrain as part of a three-day tour of Arab countries said.

Mubarak resisted international calls to quit, saying he "never bent to foreign diktats."

Hague stressed that Britain did not want to meddle in Egyptian affairs, saying "the solution to this has to be owned by the Egyptian people themselves."

Earlier Thursday, a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron kept up the pressure on Mubarak.

"There needs to be a broad-based government and a roadmap for change," the spokesman said.

"It needs to happen urgently."

© 2011 AFP

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