Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei urged the United States to end its support for President Hosni Mubarak on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday.
Sixty-eight-year old ElBaradei, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, said the idea that “a dictator who has been in power for 30 years will be the one to implement democracy” was a farce.
Vice President Joe Biden said last week that Mubarak was not a dictator and should not have to resign, but should be more “responsive” to the needs of his people. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have urged the embattled Egyptian president to implement democratic reforms, but stopped short of saying he should leave his position.
In the seventh consecutive day of massive protests, demonstrators in Egypt continued to call for Mubarak’s resignation. He has been the president of the country for thirty years.
“You can’t run a country on repression, detention, torture, lack of economic opportunity for 30 years,” ElBaradei said. “I have been warning of that for many years. Many others have been seeing the painting on the wall.”
Egypt, which has been under a declared state of “emergency” for decades, shut down all mobile phone operators and Internet service providers in response to the protests.
The government has also blocked access to the Arab news network Al Jazeera, which had been providing live coverage of the protests.
“If Washington didn’t see that coming, then there was something wrong with their perception of what was going on in Egypt,” ElBaradei continued.
Leaked diplomatic cables released by secrets outlet WikiLeaks show that Egyptian police regularly torture suspects due to “unrelenting pressure” from their superiors to solve criminal investigations.
“This first thing which will calm the situation is for Mubarak to leave, and leave with some dignity,” ElBaradei said. “Otherwise I fear that things will get bloody. And you have to stop the life support to the dictator and root for the people.”
Israel, which has maintained peace with Egypt during Mubarak’s reign, called on the United States and numerous European nations to curb their criticism of the president over the weekend. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that senior Israeli officials stressed the importance of Egypt’s stability.
“On the one hand, you are talking about democracy, rule of law and human rights. On the other hand, you are lending support to a dictator who has continued to repress his people.”