United States President Barack Obama called several world leaders to discuss the current situation in Egypt, emphasising the need for immediate beginning of an “orderly peaceful transition”, the White House has said.

Mr. Obama spoke to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the UAE, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the White House said.

“The President discussed his serious concern about the targeting of journalists and human rights groups, and reaffirmed that the government of Egypt has a responsibility to protect the rights of its people and to release immediately those who have been unjustly detained,” a White House statement said yesterday.

“The President emphasised the importance of an orderly, peaceful transition, beginning now, to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people, including credible, inclusive negotiations between the government and the opposition,” it said.

Noting that the leaders agreed to stay in close contact going forward, the White House said, Mr. Obama and Merkel also reviewed developments in the broader Middle East, including the Quartet meeting in Munich.

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