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Vital need for social, political, eco reforms in Mideast: US

With anti-government and pro-democracy movements spreading like wildfire in the Middle East, the US has said there is a vital need for social, political and economic reforms in the region and warned against use of "excessive force" against protesters.

world Updated: Feb 19, 2011 10:13 IST

With anti-government and pro-democracy movements spreading like wildfire in the Middle East, the US has said there is a vital need for social, political and economic reforms in the region and warned against use of "excessive force" against protesters.

"We do not want to see violence under any circumstances. We want to see the universal rights of people respected, including the right to assemble, the right to freely express their views. We have reinforced that political, economic and social reform is vitally important to the region," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters.

"So everything that we say, whether the country is Libya, Yemen, Bahrain or another country, is rooted in those principles and our values. The specific circumstances and the response by a government may well not be the same. There's no cookie-cutter approach here," he said.

What has happened in Egypt may or may not represent what occurs in a different country, Crowley said. "But it is vitally important for these countries to respond to the needs and aspirations of their people. And excessive force that leads to violence and loss of life and injury, we believe, is not the right answer."

If there is a lesson to be learnt from Egypt, it is the fact that the Egyptian military declined to use excessive force against its people, Crowley said.

"It's preserved its bond with the people of Egypt, and that has given Egypt time and space to work through the transition that has started there," he said.

"So it is important for countries in the region to learn the right lessons, but we remain very, very concerned. And the White House obviously condemned ... violence in those countries," Crowley said.

The challenge there remains whether the governments are willing to change and recognise the aspirations of their people, Crowley said.

"The sooner these governments recognise and respond to the needs and aspirations of their people the better," he said.