EGYPT: Chinese, Russian officials question U.N. secretary-general’s remarks

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Russia and China, nations that could veto U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s bid for a second term in office, have joined Egypt in criticizing his statements calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down now.

China’s Ambassador Li Baodong said the political crisis in Egypt was an “internal affair that should be resolved by the people in Egypt,” when asked about Ban’s statements by Bloomberg News.

‘These are extremely delicate internal matters that should be left to the sovereign states,” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters Friday at United Nations headquarters in New York. “The UN should be dealing with its many tasks, which should not include poking fingers in the eyes of political leaders.”

Ban has called for an immediate “transition” in Egypt’s government and said the protests throughout the country should lead to “bold reforms, not repression,” Bloomberg reported.


Ban, in Berlin today to meet with Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, said Mubarak and top government officials should “listen more attentively and carefully” to the “genuine and real wishes” of the Egyptian people, according to wire reports.

“We have seen too much violence over the last few days and also bloodshed,” Ban said. “Now is the time for Egyptians to begin a process of peaceful and orderly transition leading to free and fair elections respecting the genuine will of the Egyptian people expressed so far through their demonstrations.”

Egypt’s Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said he has met twice in the last week with Under-Secretary-General Vijay Nambiar to register his complaints, and will express them to Ban in person once he returns to New York, Bloomberg reported.

“He has to understand what is the reality on the ground before he speaks,” Abdelaziz said of Ban. “If you look at his statements, you will see that they are just like what some other countries are saying, and that is not what we expect of him. I will discuss it with him. I need to understand where all this is coming from.”

Ban, 66, is up for reelection this year to a second five-year term in office. His candidacy could be vetoed by any of the permanent members of the UN Security Council: Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S.

Ban has been criticized by some human rights groups who allege he has failed to speak out strongly against dictators. — Molly Hennessy-Fiske