US wants orderly transition of power in Egypt

Sunday, January 30, 2011

WASHINGTON - The US wants to see an orderly transition of power in Egypt, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday.

Tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators thronged the streets of Egypt’s main cities for a sixth day Sunday, defying curfews and a heavy military presence, demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down.

“We want to see an orderly transition so that no one fills a void … that there be a well thought out plan that will bring about a democratic participatory government,” Clinton told the FOX News Sunday programme, one of five Sunday morning talk shows she appeared on.

“We also don’t want to see some takeover that would lead not to democracy but to oppression and the end of the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” she said.

“It is not a question of who retains power — that should not be the issue,” Clinton told NBC’s Meet the Press. “It is how are we going to respond to the legitimate grievances expressed by the Egyptian people and chart a new path.”

She said the US wants to “see free and fair elections and we expect that that will be one of the outcomes of what is going on in Egypt right now”.

Asked whether the US was beginning to back away from Mubarak, Clinton told CNN’s State of the Union programme: “We do not want to send any message about backing forward or backing back.”

Pressed to answer whether the US was on the side of the protesters or Mubarak, she said: “There’s another choice — it’s the Egyptian people.”

While the US has been a long-time ally of Mubarak, President Barack Obama last week said that Washington stands behind the universal rights of the Egyptian people.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the US will be reviewing all forms of aid to the Egyptian government. The US provides more than $1.5 billion annually in aid to Egypt, most of it military assistance.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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