Friday, February 4, 2011

Korea: Journalists detained in Egypt; US negotiates new government transition

Korea Times

French reporters in Egypt blindfolded

"The United States is leading a chorus of world outrage as a growing number of international journalists were beaten or detained in a "systematic" attack by Egyptian regime loyalists.

"France's foreign minister called attacks on foreign journalists in Egypt ``unacceptable'' and urged Egyptian authorities to protect reporters covering pro-democracy demonstrations there.

"Michele Alliot-Marie says "incidents (have occurred) which have compromised the security" of journalists from French media outlets including Le Monde newspaper.

"She says some 20 French journalists are holed up in a hotel in Cairo and are in constant contact with the French embassy there. In a statement Friday, Alliot-Marie said France's ambassador has been instructed to intervene immediately in case of further problems involving French journalists.

"The White House spokesman on Thursday condemned the ``systematic targeting'' of reporters covering the protests.

"The Obama administration, meanwhile, is in talks with top Egyptian officials about the possible immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and the formation of an interim government that could prepare the country for free and fair elections later this year, U.S. officials said late Thursday.

'Creation of a military-backed caretaker government in Egypt is one of several ideas being discussed as anti-Mubarak protests escalate in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, the officials said. Those protests are expected to grow in size and intensity on Friday and the administration fears they may erupt into more widespread violence unless the government takes tangible steps to address the protesters' main demand that Mubarak leave office.

"The officials stressed the United States isn't seeking to impose a solution on Egypt but noted that the administration had made a judgment that Mubarak has to go soon if there is to be a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive diplomatic talks, which are continuing. The talks about Mubarak's immediate departure were first reported by The New York Times."

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