Egypt should not betray democratic aspirations of its people

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Clashes with policemen have become a regular scene in downtown Cairo. [Photo: Amr Emam/IRIN]

All sides in Egypt have a responsibility to ensure violence and conflict do not derail a two-year struggle to make the Arab country a democratic state.

The call comes from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

IPU President Abdelwahad Radi urged all sides not to lose sight of what the majority of Egyptians have demanded for years – a democratic society free from political violence and repression.

He said "There is too much at stake. Too many people have lost their lives for Egypt to be where it is today. Egypt is at a critical crossroads and the path of violence is not the solution". He added "It would be a betrayal of the Egyptian people's democratic aspirations".

President Radi said "Democracy can only work if it is grounded in political pluralism and social cohesion". "All components of Egyptian society have to be involved in deciding the country's political future. That means releasing opponents from prison, including all those elected to parliament. It also means engaging in a fully inclusive political dialogue to determine what next for Egypt, and how."

Reiterating the need for immediate free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections and for the authorities to uphold the rule of law and defend an impartial judiciary, the IPU President said restoring peace and respecting the right of assembly in Egypt was a critical first step.

President Radi called on all sides to show maximum restraint and to work together in determining Egypt's future, adding, Violence should not be an option.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26″

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