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Medvedev speaks to Mubarak, hopes for ‘peaceful’ settlement

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke by phone to Egypt’s leader Hosni Mubarak, expressing hope that the country would soon find a peaceful solution to raging unrest, the Kremlin said Thursday.

“Dmitry Medvedev expressed…hope that the current difficult period in the life of friendly Egypt would soon be overcome through a peaceful and legal settlement of the current problems,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Mubarak is facing mass protests calling for him to quit power, which erupted Wednesday into violent clashes between opponents and supporters of his rule.

Earlier in the day the Russian foreign ministry cautioned against foreign interference in Egypt’s affairs, saying its politicians should themselves find a way to end the unrest and the world should not make ultimatums.

“We are interested in Egypt being a stable, prospering, democratic state, in today’s social, economic and political problems being settled peacefully as soon as possible,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a statement.

“How precisely to do this it is up to the Egyptian politicians, the Egyptian people to decide. We do not consider it useful to impose some recipes from the outside, put forward some sort of ultimatums.”

“I will stress once more that it’s political forces inside Egypt itself that should reach an agreement,” Lavrov said, calling the Middle Eastern nation Russia’s “strategic partner.”

By contrast, five EU nations — Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – urged an immediate political transition to end the violence.