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Egypt - France

Sarkozy calls for transition now in Egypt

Reuters/Dylan Martinez

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for transition "without delay" in Egypt after his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday promised not to seek re-election in September. Earlier US President Barack Obama told Mubarak to get ready to quit.

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Mubarak’s televised address was met by angry jeers from thousands of demonstrators on their eighth day of protests.

The president insisted that he had never intended to stay in office beyond this year.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

"I say in all honesty, and without taking into consideration the current situation, I was not planning to present myself for a new presidential term," he said.

Egypt is "the nation I have defended and in which I will die," he said rejecting the possibility that he might flee abroad as ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali did in January following a popular revolt.

Mubarak said his responsibility now is “to bring security and stability to the
nation to ensure a peaceful transition of power".

"Leave! Leave!" the demonstrators angrily chanted in Tahrir Square after the speech, echoing the demand voiced by the combined opposition earlier in the day for Mubarak to quit this week.

Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said Friday has been set as "departure day" for Mubarak.

Shortly after the president’s announcement US President Barack Obama told the embattled president that he must begin his transition to power now.

“An orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now,” he said.
 

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