• UN chief calls for peaceful political transition in Egypt

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    UNITED NATIONS: With voting on draft constitution underway in Egypt, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Tuesday on all Egyptians to conduct the political transition peacefully.

    Following closely the referendum process, Ban stressed the importance of respect for freedom of assembly and expression, as well as commitment to non-violence, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said in a statement issued here.

    “The Secretary-General encourages all Egyptians to ensure that the next phase of the transition is conducted in an inclusive, peaceful, and transparent manner,” said the statement.

    Ban called on all Egyptians to express their differences without violence. He also extended UN support for an Egyptian-led transition process that “adheres to democratic principles and upholds the human rights of all Egyptians.”

    Egyptians started Tuesday their two-day voting on the country’s new draft constitution, which is widely seen as a milestone in Egypt’s political transition after Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted last July.

    If the draft document is approved, the turmoil-stricken country will go through parliamentary and presidential elections, and the post-Morsi transitional period will come to an end in mid-2014, six months at most after the referendum.

    Morsi’s supporters, who condemn Morsi’s ouster as a “military coup,” claimed that they would boycott the referendum and stage massive demonstrations. PNA

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