Obama says Egypt forever changed

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, February 7, 2011 9:21 EDT
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WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama called Sunday for a “representative government” in Egypt and said that regardless of when President Hosni Mubarak steps down the country had changed forever.

“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. Here’s what we know is that Egypt is not going to go back to what it was.

“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.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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  • Taleisin

    Obama, why are you wanting to work to influence the outcome of the people’s choice.
    They want self rule. Not self rule that suits you, or American interests.
    These people might, by some miracle end up with a government, that will work for the interests of the people. You know stuff like jobs, education, food.

    The more you meddle, the more problems will come out of this for everyone including us.

  • Guest

    Wouldn’t it be nice, Taleisin, if he did some “meddling” in this country first and gave us BACK what has been taken, mostly covertly and, given the ignorance of the American public, also Overtly?

  • Anonymous

    This guy is so good at saying nothing.

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

    Why? did mubarak leave? Do the people have complete freedom now? did the murdered protesters come back to life? did U.S. stop being so cocky and shut up?

    If any of these answers are “yes”, then thank you for your input Mr.Obama, otherwise Shut the fuck up

  • Taleisin

    That’s a novel idea. But first he’d have to ask whoever is in charge.