Leaders at Munich security conference call for orderly change in Egypt

09:59, February 06, 2011      

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by Xinhua Writers Zheng Qihang, Liu Xiang

World leaders and diplomats gathered at the 47th Munich Security Conference on Saturday called on Egypt to embrace the trend of change and begin transition in an orderly way.

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern over the situation in Tunisia and Egypt, saying "We do not know how these events will end."

He said poverty, diminished or disappointed expectations, corruption, injustice and a deficit of democracy have caused the situation there.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said change is a " strategic necessity" in the Middle East, while urging Mideast leaders to embrace democratic reforms in response to growing unrest in the region.

"The region is being battered by a perfect storm of powerful trends," she said, as "many of the young people, even the most educated among them cannot find growth, but at the same time they are more connected with each other and with the facts around them because of technology."

"This generation is right in demanding their governments become more effective, more responsible and more open."

"Leaders in the region may be able to hold back the tide for a little while, but not for long." Clinton said, "Without genuine progress toward open and accountable political systems, the gap between people and their governments will grow, and instability will only deepen."

Leaders of Germany and Britain echoed Clinton's call for changes in Middle East but opposed a hasty solution.

"There will be change in Egypt ... but it needs to be change in such a way that it is peaceful and orderly," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the conference.

"I believe a very quick election at the beginning of a process of democratization would be wrong," Merkel said, citing the lessons drawn from her own experience in East Germany when the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989.

Rational people and a lot of transitions are needed to let the new structures of political dialogue and decision-making develop before the first election, Merkel said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also said, "We need change and reform and transition to get greater stability" in Egypt.

Solving the problem in Egypt cannot be realized by just " flicking a switch and holding an election." he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also called for Egyptians to find their own solutions through a dialogue among all domestic political forces, adding building a social oriented economy will be helpful for establishing democratic process.

Since January 25, a series of demonstrations have happened in Egypt, demanding its President Hosni Mubarak to leave the office. The protests have caused more than 100 people dead, more than 1000 injured.

Tension escalated Wednesday when clashes between Mubarak supporters and protesters killed at least three people and wounded some 600 others.

The ongoing Munich Security Conference which opened here on Friday has been overshadowed by the unrest in Egypt.

Source: Xinhua
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