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John Kerry Tells Mubarak to Step Aside and Not Run for Re-election

February 1, 2011

This is actually a big story because I doubt this was done without any consultation with the White House. This is meant to send a message directly to Mubarak. I guess Kerry wrote this yesterday but I didn’t see it until today:

…President Hosni Mubarak must accept that the stability of his country hinges on his willingness to step aside gracefully to make way for a new political structure. One of the toughest jobs that a leader under siege can perform is to engineer a peaceful transition. But Egyptians have made clear they will settle for nothing less than greater democracy and more economic opportunities.

[snip]

It is not enough for President Mubarak to pledge “fair” elections, as he did on Saturday. The most important step that he can take is to address his nation and declare that neither he nor the son he has been positioning as his successor will run in the presidential election this year. Egyptians have moved beyond his regime, and the best way to avoid unrest turning into upheaval is for President Mubarak to take himself and his family out of the equation.

Further, he must guarantee that the election will be honest and open to all legitimate candidates and conducted without interference from the military or security apparatus and under the oversight of international monitors. The Egyptian people are demanding wholesale transformation, not window dressing. As part of the transition, President Mubarak needs to work with the army and civil society to establish an interim caretaker government as soon as possible to oversee an orderly transition in the coming months.

President Mubarak has contributed significantly to Middle East peace. Now it is imperative that he contribute to peace in his own country by convincing Egyptians that their concerns and aspirations are being addressed. If he demonstrates leadership and accomplishes those goals, he can turn the Arab world’s most populous country into a model for how to meet the demands for reform engulfing the region.

Given the events of the past week, some are criticizing America’s past tolerance of the Egyptian regime. It is true that our public rhetoric did not always match our private concerns. But there also was a pragmatic understanding that our relationship benefited American foreign policy and promoted peace in the region. And make no mistake, a productive relationship with Egypt remains crucial for both us and the Middle East.

To that end, the United States must accompany our rhetoric with real assistance to the Egyptian people. For too long, financing Egypt’s military has dominated our alliance. The proof was seen over the weekend: tear gas canisters marked “Made in America” fired at protesters, United States-supplied F-16 jet fighters streaking over central Cairo. Congress and the Obama administration need to consider providing civilian assistance that would generate jobs and improve social conditions in Egypt, as well as guarantee that American military assistance is accomplishing its goals — just as we are trying to do with Pakistan through a five-year nonmilitary assistance package. …

[emphasis added]

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    February 1, 2011 3:48 pm

    Do you suppose the idea was that it would be easier for Kerry to write something like this than the Prez or SOS? That way they can maintain the public posture of not meddling, but make it clear US sympathies lie with the protesters/Egyptian people? Or is this Kerry grandstanding without permission?

    • February 1, 2011 3:52 pm

      I have a feeling it was likely coordinated with the WH/State Dept. or at the very least they knew he was going to do this. I think by having a Senator do it it gives the Executive Branch some cover as you said regarding not overtly meddling. It may be a trial balloon of sorts- float it up and see what the reaction from Egypt, Israel and other regional allies and the US and Egyptian public is. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Kerry would come out and ask Mubarak to step down without talking to anyone first.

      • PYW permalink
        February 1, 2011 4:15 pm

        I agree. I’m sure this isn’t just Kerry shooting off his mouth. I’m sure there were consultations with State and the WH first.

        • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
          February 1, 2011 5:13 pm

          I guess that makes sense — Kerry wants to be SOS, after all.

  2. February 1, 2011 4:43 pm

    And I love the picture of the little girl that you included at the bottom of your post. Adorable.

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