Russia urges legitimate polls in Egypt: Report

Russian Prez urged Egypt to hold legitimate polls and respect religious rights following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
on Saturday urged Egypt to hold legitimate elections and respect
religious rights following the ouster of Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak, reports said.

"Russia hopes democratic procedures in Egypt will be
fully restored and all legitimate electoral procedures will be
used for this," Medvedev said in a statement, Russian news
agency, Itar-Tass reported.

Medvedev said a "strong, democratic Egypt (was) an
important factor in the continuation of the Middle Eastern
peace process" and stressed Russia would continue an "active
role in international efforts to help this process."

He also emphasised the need for religious freedoms and a
lack of sectarian violence, saying that "Russia "considers it
extremely important that Egypt retains peace and unity between
different confessions."

Medvedev also called for Egypt and Russia to continue
what he called a long history of "strategic partnership.

"We have actively developed political, economic and
humanitarian contacts, and we hope they will continue to
develop in the future," he said.

Medvedev had spoken to Mubarak on February 3, saying that
he hoped that the protests would "soon be overcome through a
peaceful and legal settlement," but not urging an immediate
political transition.

Earlier today, in the first official reaction from
Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement
calling for Egyptians not to resort to violence and to
strengthen democratic structures.

"We expect Egypt to find a way out of the crisis that is
peaceful, considers the interests of all Egyptians and aims to
strengthen democratic norms in this key Arab country," a
foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.

Moscow also warned against outside intervention, saying
that Egyptians should decide their own future.

"Just as before we are convinced that the Egyptian people
are capable themselves of defining their fate and the future
of their country without any outside interference," ministry
spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.