`Change has to come` in Egypt: Australian PM

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard urges all sides to show restraint.

Sydney: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said "change has to come" in Egypt but urged all sides to show restraint after President Hosni Mubarak defied protesters` calls to step down immediately.

Gillard said she was watching with concern after crowds in Cairo`s Tahrir Square reacted angrily to Mubarak`s televised speech, in which he handed some powers to his deputy but clung on to his three-decade rule.

"We do believe there has to be fundamental reform. We do believe that change has to come," Gillard said on Friday. "We do understand the status quo is not a tenable position. But we do want to see peace in the transition."

Demonstrators vowed to hold their most vehement protest yet after the speech by Mubarak, 82, which was also greeted with disappointment by European leaders.

"We are very concerned about events in Egypt. We are monitoring the situation very, very closely. We want to see an orderly transition but we want to see peace," Gillard said.

"We`re obviously all very concerned that circumstances as they are unfolding in Egypt may occasion further violence and we would be calling for calm and restraint on all sides.”

"I don`t think anybody wants to see violence and clearly there is a real risk of that."

Bureau Report

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