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Egypt: PM backs orderly transition

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama have called for an "orderly transition" to a democratic government in Egypt.

As the crisis threatening to unseat Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak escalated, the two leaders held talks and agreed that a "comprehensive process of political reform" was needed.

"The leaders discussed their shared and deep concern at the unfolding situation in Egypt," said a Downing Street spokeswoman.

"The Prime Minister and the president agreed that the Egyptian government must respond peacefully to the ongoing protests.

"They condemned the violence of recent days. It was essential that the Egyptian people were able to exercise the rights of freedom of assembly and of expression.

"The Prime Minister made clear that restrictions on the media and internet were unacceptable and should be lifted immediately.

"The Prime Minister and President Obama were united in their view that Egypt now needed a comprehensive process of political reform, with an orderly, Egyptian-led transition leading to a government that responded to the grievances of the Egyptian people and to their aspirations for a democratic future."

Mr Cameron also discussed the situation with King Abdullah of Jordan, a key powerbroker in the region, on Sunday afternoon.

The telephone diplomacy came amid fears that extremists could try to exploit any vacuum left by the seemingly inevitable end of Mr Mubarak's three-decade rule.

Egypt's military forces staged a show of strength on the sixth day of mass demonstrations calling for the president to go. But protesters showed no sign of giving way, despite more than 100 deaths, and huge crowds again roamed the streets of major cities.

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