Sarkozy calls on Mubarak to begin transition "without delay"
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Wednesday on Egypt's Hosny Mubarak to begin a process of transition "without delay."
"Following President Mubarak's speech, the president of the republic reiterates his wish that a concrete process of transition begin immediately to respond to the desire for change and renewal strongly expressed by the population," Sarkozy said in a statement, DPA reported.
Sarkozy called on "all Egypt's leaders" to ensure that such a transition took place "without violence" and said France would continue to support Egyptians' desire for an "open, democratic and diverse society."
Mubarak, 82, said late Tuesday he would step down in September, at the end of his term in office, but defied demands by the largest protests in over a generation for his immediate resignation.
US President Barack Obama said Mubarak's transition from the presidency "must begin now."
France, which was criticized for supporting Tunisia's authoritarian leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali until his ouster, has been more vocal in its criticism of Mubarak's handling of anti- government protests in Egypt.