Sarkozy urges Egypt transition 'without delay'

2nd February 2011, Comments 0 comments

French President Nicolas Sarkozy added his voice to calls for immediate political transition in Egypt as pressure mounted Wednesday on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down amid mass protests.

"The president repeats his wish that a concrete transition process begin without delay," a statement from Sarkozy's office said.

Mubarak, 82, announced late Tuesday that he would hang on until September but not run in that month's presidential election.

That announcement drew angry jeers from demonstrators who again defied a curfew to spend the night in Cairo's Tahrir Square -- epicentre of protests that on Wednesday raged into a ninth straight day.

Sarkozy's call echoed that of US President Barack Obama, who went on television to say he had told the Egyptian president that an orderly transition needed to begin immediately.

The French statement said the transition must "respond to the desire for change and renewal strongly expressed by the people", referring to days of Egyptian street protests in which the UN estimates 300 people have died.

Sarkozy "calls on all Egyptian officials to do everything to help the process take place without violence," the statement added.

"Tied to Egypt by an old and deep friendship, France renews its support for the aspirations of Egyptians for a free, democratic and diverse society."

© 2011 AFP

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