Jan 29 - Japanese Prime Minister Kan Naoto calls for an end to violence in Egypt in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos - joining other leaders including Kofi Annan and Salam Fayyad. Tara Cleary reports.
Global finances took a momentary back seat on Saturday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Japan's Prime Minister, Kan Naoto called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to start a dialogue with his people. He said he strongly hopes that the Egyptian government will initiate reforms in a way to gain broad support and participation with the people, and that it could immediately restore the political stability and peaceful civil life in Egypt. Kan was not the only political leader to appeal for an end to the violence in the North African country, in which it's believed that at least 74 people have died in street protests. Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan said the situation has to be handled with care. SOUNDBITE: Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, saying (English): "It's obvious that the people are demanding change and reform and this search for change, this demand for change I don't think is going to be stoppable. It's a question of how one manages that change." And Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said a speech by Mubarak on Saturday was not enough to calm the situation. SOUNDBITE: Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, saying (English): "Fluffy words will not be enough right now, he needs to deliver in a very concrete manner, and that's what gives me some kind of hope right now." In unrest never before seen during Mubarak's 30 year-rule, police and demonstrators fought running street battles. Egypt's government was forced to resign, but Mubarak has refused to step down, appointing his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as vice president. Tara Cleary, Reuters.