One day after Frank G. Wisner, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt, suggested Mr. Mubarak remain, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Democratic Sen. John Kerry said the U.S. wants a smooth transition to a more democratic society.
“We deeply respect the many years of service that Frank Wisner has provided to our country,” Mrs. Clinton told NPR. “But he does not speak for the American government. …We have been very clear from the beginning that we wanted to see an orderly transition.”
Mr. Wisner, apparently sent to Egypt to quietly deliver the message to Mr. Mubarak that he must relinquish power, said the Egyptian president’s leadership is critical and the transition “is an ideal moment for him to show the way forward.”
He added that Mr. Mubarak must stay in office “to steer those changes,” which would be an opportunity for him to “write his own legacy.”
“I think that Mr. Wisner’s comments just don’t reflect where the administration has been from Day One, and that was not the message that he was asked to deliver or did deliver,” said Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat.
The exchange is just the latest evidence of the difficulty the administration has had in crafting an official response to the revolutionary crisis that started 13 days ago in the streets of Cairo.
While Mr. Obama wants to show respect and gratitude toward the Mubarak government, a longtime U.S. ally and a stabilizing force in the Middle East, administration officials also have tried to make clear that Egypt must move toward a more democratic society with fair, open elections and greater economic opportunities.
She said the U.S. supports the reform efforts promised by newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman and that having the political group Muslim Brotherhood participating in discussions about Egypt’s future appears to be a positive sign.
“I think the Egyptian people are looking for an orderly transition that can lead to free and fair elections,” she said. “That’s what the United States has consistently supported.”View Entire Story
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