UN chief calls for speedy return to civilian rule in Egypt

AFP , Saturday 12 Feb 2011

UN chief calls for free and fair elections and a quick return to civilian rule

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Friday that the Egyptian army must allow free and fair elections to get back to civilian rule after President Hosni Mubarak's departure.

The "voice of the Egyptian people has been heard" in the end of Mubarak's 30-year rule, the UN secretary general told reporters.

Ban renewed a call "for a transparent, orderly and peaceful transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people and includes free, fair and credible elections leading to the early establishment of civilian rule.

"I urge the interim authorities to chart a clear path forward with the participation of all stakeholders," he added, calling for the respect of human rights and civil liberties.

Ban praised Mubarak's decision to stand down. "I respect what must have been a difficult decision, taken in the wider interests of the Egyptian people," he said.

"The voice of the Egyptian people, particularly the youth, has been heard, and it is for them to determine the future of their country.

"I commend the people of Egypt for the peaceful and courageous and orderly manner in which they have exercised their legitimate rights. I call on all parties to continue in the same spirit," Ban said.

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