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Obama calls for ‘representative government’ in Egypt

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, February 6, 2011 17:54 EDT
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WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama reiterated his call Sunday for an “orderly” and “meaningful” transition in Egypt and said he wanted to see a “representative government” emerge.

“The Egyptian people want freedom, free and fair elections, they want a representative government, they want a responsive government. We’ve said, you have to start a transition now,” Obama told Fox television.

Pressed on whether President Hosni Mubarak was going to quit now, Obama replied: “Only he knows what he’s going to do… He’s not running for re-election. His term is up this year.”

“He’s not running for re-election. His term is up this year,” he added.

Opponents of Mubarak’s embattled regime on Sunday dismissed as insufficient an offer to include them in political reform plans and renewed their demand that the president step down now, rather than after elections in September.

In a landmark concession, Vice President Omar Suleiman agreed to sit down with the groups, which included the banned Muslim Brotherhood, but the talks produced no immediate breakthrough in the two-week-old standoff.

As night fell, central Cairo’s now iconic Tahrir Square was still filled with thousands of anti-regime protesters, adamant that the start of dialogue will not divert them from their campaign to unseat Egypt’s strongman.

Some Western observers have expressed concern that the Brotherhood could sweep to power and institute an Islamist regime that would be no more democratic and might break Egypt’s close alliance with Washington.

There are also worries, particularly in Israel, that under the Brotherhood Egypt could adopt a much more hostile stance towards the Jewish state, even tearing up their 1979 peace treaty, signed after four wars.

Obama was keen to stress that Egyptian society was wider than just the Muslim Brotherhood but admitted some of their positions were a concern.

“I think they’re one faction in Egypt,” he said. “They don’t have majority support in Egypt. But they’re well organized. There are strains of their ideology that are anti-US. There’s no doubt about it.”

“There are a whole bunch of secular folks in Egypt. A whole bunch of educators and civil society in Egypt that wants to come to the fore as well,” Obama said.

“It’s important for us not the say that our only two options are the Muslim Brotherhood or a suppressed Egyptian people. I want a representative government in Egypt. I have confidence that if they move in an orderly path, we can work together.”

This video is from FoxNews, broadcast Feb. 6, 2011, sniped by Mediaite.

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  • 1984

    “Folks” makes Obama sound too much like Bush.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCRNBMCPGAOEFGLTXYZVLQ2QPA Razi Masoud

    What he really means is a representative of the U.S. government;) I don’t know why the media is paying so much attention to what the U.S. has to say about Egypt. Honestly, no one even cares what the U.S. has to say, and pretty much the majority of the world’s population thinks that the U.S. government needs to have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up;)

    I blame the media for paying so much attention on the BS of the U.S. government, when the U.S. government hasn’t listened to their citizens for decades.

    Love your people, love your movies, but your government needs to shut up for a second and let the world do their thing (which is revolution)

  • Anonymous

    “OUR only two options”, Mr. President?

    I could understand Sarah thinking Egypt was a US state; heck, she could probably see it from her back porch. But why is it the US can dictate its will to another country like this?

  • Anonymous

    Watch the big guys in the US wet their pants as they wait to find whether they get their man into Egypt or not.Must be some strategies burning hot there!

    meanwhile ,,, Now Gaza Begins to Shake

  • Anonymous

    Suggesting a torturer remain in power as part of the “transition” government really makes him sound like Dumbya.

  • Anonymous

    More American bull-crap and there is lots of it. I suspect that it is beginning to dawn on people around the world how much the US screws up their lives…from the influence of American ‘culture’ that is designed for people with short attention spans and shallow minds right across to military intervention via the killing and maiming of thousands of people and the propping up of unelected regimes that then does what the US wants. All empires decline and collapse – let’s hope this one does as well. The notion of American exceptionalism is beginning to come across as extreme arrogance and indifference.

  • http://twitter.com/Georga2012 Georga Grivois

    Bill O’Reilly is way out of his league doing this interview..He is rude..uninformed..his facts are cockeyed and although he did his best to maker Obama look bad..The President out shone him 100%..O’Reilly interupted the President numerous times..and tried to speak as if he were an authority on subjects way over his lame brain..O’Reilly used the typical Faux News strategy of quick subject change up to not allow Obama to finish his statements. O’Reilly is a Murdoch puppet and An Etheical Journalist wannabe! Thumbs up for Obama…and twitters to O’Reilly.

  • James “Jesus Glasses” Corbett

    Obama’s call for a “representative government” plays into the hands of Neo-Cons and Islamic fundamentalists who embrace a notion of democracy that, like the Christian Right in America, see “majority rule” but reject “minority rights.” Obama and other progressives must help the world to understand that the American way is not a tyranny of the majority. If Egypt has “representative government” without understanding the importance of minority rights, apostasy will be punished with death, Christians will be subjected to discrimination, women will be pushed back three hundred years, gays will be murdered, atheists and adulterers stoned.

  • Anonymous

    Yea, have a representative government like that of America. Big finance, insurance, real estate, agra-business, military/aerospace manufacturers, the Israel lobby,,,,,,,,,,are all well represented……..it’s just too bad there is no room for the American people on capitol hill.

    The question is whether the Egyptian people will have similar representation?-

  • Anonymous

    Not a bad interview by O’Reilly. Feels weird to say it.

  • Guest

    “Representative Government”. Hmmmm. I wonder what that would be like?

  • Anonymous

    And a representative government will get. So far, he’s already got a CIA representative. Next will be an MIC representative. After that, a Wall Street representative. Then, a Big Oil representative. And Big Pharma. And Big Business. And even someone from Wal Mart so that it’s really, really, really representative. Oh, yes, and please, whatever they do, they must have at least one “Jewish” representative. The Egyptians would not want to be accused of anti-semitism or anything for Mr. Obama’s sake.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t get it, do you? “Representative” means representative of the US Israel interests and all that embodies.

  • http://twitter.com/G3nki_Sudo Vajid Ali

    When will they realize that this has absolutely nothing to do with the USA. If you were that obsessed with the rights of Egyptians you wouldn’t have kept that tyrant in power.

    Fuck u and mind your own business!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LJMNZL5KJFX2H5CKWK2S75HU7I Kevin

    LOL…you’re such a damn sucker for even saying Obama and progressives in the same breath.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    Elections in Egypt have been a sham. The nation has been ruled by a thug brandishing “emergency powers” for 30 years. In the mean time Mubarak has amassed a wealth of 70 BILLION dollars.

    Now the thug Barak wants to head up the transition is a known torturer who had a hand in our own CIA’s “extraordinary renditions”.

    What kind of “representative government” would that be? One representing Israel and the USA perhaps, but NOT the Egyptian people!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    +1

  • Anonymous

    Why don’t you focus on getting a representative and responsive government here in America first Mr. Obama?? And I don’t mean one that represents powerful corporations and billionaires either.

  • Rush Goofbaugh

    Of course Obomber wants a “representive” form of governent there. Heven forbit they have a democracy like they have been protesting for. Wouldn’t want any shit like that happening.

  • Anonymous

    Sit the fuck down! You have no say in this matter. Until you start doing what you say…sit the fuck down!

  • jack nichols

    Obambo wants a representative government in Egypt? Why doesn’t he go over and represent them. He would fit nicely in the politics of Egypt. Of course the better fit would be Kenya. Unfortunately he doesn’t do well here in the United States. Liars, lowlifes, communists, and Muslims have never done well in America. Too much polarization between his idiot blind followers and intelligent folk

  • Anonymous

    Obama & Clinton are still thinking like previous US govts. They still want to pull the strings for a pro-US Egypt. An Egypt not sympathetic to us is unacceptable even though it could be the wishes of Egypt’s people. We risk again the folly of paddling against the current and we’ll forever be panicking every time a pro-US dictator gets threatened. The US keeps paying a big price associating itself with incompetent, corrupt and disliked leaders just bcos they’re willing to be our stooge.

  • DriveBy

    A representative government in Egypt will immediately be listed as a terrorist organization by us because a truly representative government in Egypt will be anti-Israeli terrorism. It will look more like Hamas and Hezbollah and less like…. well, less like Hosni Mubarak.

  • Anonymous

    I would like some representative government for myself. I live in a congressional district that is over 50 miles long, and in some places only a couple of yards wide. Though I live in a very liberal area, we are disenfranchised by this gerrymandering district.

  • Anonymous

    He believes in “One man, one Vote” where Omar Suleiman is the one man with a vote

  • hegesias

    duh

  • Balthazars Rebellion

    Representive of US/Isreali policy and fuck the Egyptian people kind of representation…I would imagine. Especially if the US gov is backing that torture/cia/mossad operative Omar Suleiman to slide into Mubarak’s chair. Different president same results….just like US goverment does.

  • DriveBy

    Actually, in an interview, you allow the interviewee to complete his/her answers to your questions. You don’t interrupt each and every answer to throw in another RW accusation… I mean, another, unrelated, “follow up question”.

  • Anonymous

    How about representative government here in America? If all the adults who watched the football game yesterday actually participated in the electoral process the United States might have a semblance of democracy. Failure to vote should be a crime like failure to file income taxes. Yes, the result might be terrible but at least it would be representative.

  • Anonymous

    Respectfully disagree. Liars like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, David Duke, Bill O’Reilly, Sara Palin, John McCain, etcetera are all ding splendidly in America whereas they would be nonentities anywhere on earth. I agree that President Obama appears to be prevaricating on any number of issues however this does not make him unique. He is after all, the President so he too is doing well in America.

  • Guest

    I didn’t know O’Reilly had a “league” to be out of.

  • Anonymous

    How about insisting on representative government in the United States. Egypt is a military supported dictatorship funded by us, and we are a corporate oligarchy supported by the military industrial complex. This is the definition of tragic irony.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    That’s because O’Reilly’s bowels got a little loose in the presence of royalty and he had to expend most of his concentration controlling his sphincter.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    “Obama and other progressives” …

  • morty62

    What’s happening in the Middle East right now is very dangerous. Egypt has no history of democracy and those who think that a western-style democracy is going to blossom there is extremely naive. U.S. foreign policy in the region is problematic for sure. Is it distasteful to have to deal with despots? Yes. But why don’t I hear anyone complaining about our dealings with China, whose human rights record is every bit as abysmal as that of the the Mubarak regime? What’s likely to happen is that eventually an organized Islamist front will gain power there and destroy a peace agreement that brought relative stability to the region for several decades. This will not bring on some democratic garden of eden. My guess is it will usher in an era of chaos, war and unnecessary misery.

  • jack nichols

    I agree about all the other liars, The whole bunch is in bed with the big banks.

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