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Updated: February 4, 2011 10:09 IST

Medvedev speaks to Mubarak

Vladimir Radyuhin
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File photo of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
PTI File photo of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called embattled Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak on Thursday in an attempt to help resolve the political crisis in the country which Russia calls its “strategic partner.”

The Kremlin did not disclose any details of the talk apart from saying that Mr. Medvedev expressed the hope that the crisis “would be resolved soon peacefully and within the framework of law.”

Moscow's official reaction to the turmoil in Egypt has been extremely discreet and cautious. In a message to his Egyptian counterpart sent last week Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the “standoff” to be overcome by “non-violent means” and “without rocking the boat.”

However, after U.S. President Barack Obama said that political change in Egypt “must begin now,” Moscow warned against outside interference in the country's affairs and “ultimatums” to its leadership.

“Ultimatums will not serve any useful purpose,” Mr. Lavrov said.

“Political forces in Egypt should themselves reach agreement” on how to resolve the crisis.

Describing Egypt as Russia's “strategic partner” Mr. Lavrov said it was “up to Egyptian politicians and Egyptian people to decide how they do it.”

Russian analysts warned about “creeping Islamisation of Egypt.”

Parliamentarian Konstanin Kosachyov, who heads the foreign affairs committee of the lower house, State Duma, said power in Egypt could fall into the hands of extremists.

“I hope very much that Americans understand the risks and would not try to play with fire,” the Russian lawmaker said.

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