WASHINGTON — Former US president Jimmy Carter, who brokered the existing peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, predicted Sunday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will have to resign because “the people have decided,” a report said.
“This is the most profound situation in the Middle East since I left office,” Carter said during the Sunday religion class he teaches at a Baptist church in his hometown of Plains, in the southern state of Georgia.
Carter’s comments were reported by the Ledger-Enquirer newspaper of Columbus, Georgia. A spokeswoman for the former president did not immediately respond to AFP to confirm them.
Carter brokered the 1978 peace accord between Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. Mubarak was vice president at the time and became president in 1981 when Sadat was assassinated.
Carter, who recently was an official election observer in Sudan, said he expected the street protests to taper off in the next week, but predicted that Mubarak “will have to leave,” the newspaper reported.
“The United States wants Mubarak to stay in power, but the people have decided,” said the 86-year-old Carter, calling the unprecedented protests “earth shaking.”
Earlier Sunday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an “orderly transition” and “real democracy” in Egypt but stopped short of demanding Mubarak step down.
Carter said Mubarak has become corrupt over his 30 years in power, but praised Mubarak’s newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman: “He’s an intelligent man whom I like very much.”