Kerry reiterates administration’s stance on Egypt

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, attempted Sunday to clarify the Obama administration’s position on Egypt’s political revolution, following a U.S. envoy’s suggestion this weekend that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should stay in power.

“The United States’ position is crystal-clear,” Mr. Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It has been from day one.”

Mr. Kerry said that President Obama and his administration wants Mr. Mubarak to “step aside gracefully” and that change toward a more democratic Egypt should be “meaningful” and include more prosperity.

The administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has tried over the past weeks to convey that message, after struggling to find its tone in the first days of the now 13-day revolution.

Frank Wisner, a former ambassador to Egypt deployed there last week apparently to urge Mr. Mubarak to begin stepping aside, said Saturday the transition “is an ideal moment for him to show the way forward, [and] the president must stay in office to steer those changes.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, a leader of the Egyptian opposition party Muslim Brotherhood, said Mr. Wisner’s statement has caused “a lot of confusion” in his country.

Mr. Kerry said Mr. Wisner was attempting to say the administration wants a smooth transition.

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