UN, U.S. Condemn Egypt Violence, Urge for Restraint From All Sides

Ban Ki-moon says he is 'deeply concerned by the continuing violence in Egypt' as White House reiterates call for orderly transition of power.

The United States and the United Nations strongly condemned Wednesday the growing violence in Egypt and urged all sides to show restraint, as protesters clashed with anti-government supporters leaving hundreds wounded.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the U.S. was deeply concerned about attacks on the media and the peaceful demonstrators and reiterated the call for restraint by all parties.

UN Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Barack Obama
AFP, Reuters

"The message the President delivered to Hosni Mubarak is that the time for change has come," Gibbs said during a press conference.

"We are evaluating actions of the government of Egypt and reviewing our assistance. But no decision has been made," he said regarding a question of possible U.S. action.

"The administration believes that President Mubarak has a chance to show the world who exactly he is by beginning the transition," he added.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke late Tuesday after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced he would not run again for office again, and called for an orderly transition that must begin immediately.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply concerned by the continuing violence in Egypt. I once again urge restraint to all the sides."

Speaking after a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London the UN chief said that for the last decade the UN has been warning about the need for change in Arab countries.

"We should not underestimate the danger of instability across the Middle East," Ban said, adding that "any attack against peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable and I strongly condemn it."

"It is important at this juncture to ensure that an orderly and peaceful transition should take place. I urge all the parties to engage in such a dialogue ... without further delay,"
he said, adding that the United Nations stands ready to support any reform effort by Egypt and any other Arab countries.

Germany also condemned the increasing violence in Egypt and called for a new political beginning, following Mubarak's pledge to step down at the end of his term in September.

"I call upon the security authorities in Egypt not to use violence against the demonstrators," said Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. "Violent suppression of the protests is not acceptable for Germany and the international community."

His remarks came after a telephone conversation with Egyptian opposition figure Mohammed El Baradei, who voiced great concern about the situation in Cairo, the German Foreign Ministry wrote in a statement.

"The scenes of violence on the streets of Cairo prompt the pressing question whether Egypt's political leadership has understood the need for quick democratic change," Westerwelle said.