Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak still has a few friends in high places.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair explained Tuesday that the embattled Egyptian president was “immensely courageous and a force for good.”
Appearing on CNN, Blair praised Mubarak’s role in brokering peace between Israel and Palestine. The former prime minister is now an envoy to the peace process.
“Nobody seems quite sure what to say about President Mubarak,” CNN’s Piers Morgan noted. “Depending on who you talk to, he’s been a force for good or a force for evil. The people are clearly in Egypt making their feelings clear. Where do you stand on him?”
“Well, where you stand on him depends on whether you’ve worked with him from the outside or on the inside,” Blair replied. “And for those of us who worked with him over the — particularly now I worked with him on the Middle East peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians, so this is somebody I’m constantly in contact with and working with.”
“And on that issue, I have to say, he’s been immensely courageous and a force for good,” he added.
“Inside Egypt, and I have many Egyptian friends, it’s clear that there’s been a huge desire for change. So where you stand on President Mubarak very much depends on, you know, whether you’ve been dealing with him as an outsider on something like the peace process or whether you’re somebody, I think, who’s obviously an aspiring middle class there that are wanting now the same types of freedom and changes that people have elsewhere,” Blair said.
Mubarak announced Tuesday his intent to retire at the end of his term in September, but that was not enough for protesters, who’ve persisted in occupying public areas in Cairo.
That also wasn’t enough for current British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“We absolutely take that view, that transition needs to be rapid and credible and it needs to start now,” he said during a Q&A Wednesday.
This video is from CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, broadcast Feb. 1, 2011.
This video is from BBC, broadcast Feb. 2, 2011.
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