Biden asks Egypt VP for 'immediate steps' on reform

AFP , Sunday 6 Feb 2011

Biden appealing for his Egyptian counterpart for immediate steps on the country's path of democracy

US Vice President Joe Biden told his Egyptian counterpart Saturday that "immediate steps" are needed on democratic reforms in response to the growing unrest in the country, the White House said.

Biden, in a telephone call to Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, "asked about progress in beginning credible, inclusive negotiations for Egypt's transition to a democratic government to address the aspirations of the Egyptian people," the statement said.

"He stressed the need for a concrete reform agenda, a clear timeline, and immediate steps that demonstrate to the public and the opposition that the Egyptian government is committed to reform."

Biden also "expressed concern about continued raids on civil society and called for the immediate release of journalists, activists, and human rights advocates who have been detained without cause."

The move came as US President Barack Obama spoke Saturday to several foreign leaders about the unrest in Egypt, highlighting the need for "an orderly, peaceful transition, beginning now," a separate White House statement said.

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