* Laura Rozen
* Kerry: Mubarak must "step aside gracefully"
Kerry: Mubarak must "step aside gracefully" - Laura Rozen:
February 01, 2011
Sen. John Kerry -- who has frequently played the role of discreet presidential envoy for the Obama administration to difficult leaders -- Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai, and Syria's Bashar al-Assad -- gently but significantly prodded Egypt's Hosni Mubarak that it's time to go in a New York Times oped Tuesday.
Specifically, Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says Mubarak should declare that neither he nor his son will run in presidential elections this year:
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. [...]
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.
Kerry also writes that the United States needs to change its relationship with the Egyptian people, including by shifting its assistance package from one focused mostly on the military alliance and hardware to bolstering civilian assistance to generate jobs and improve social conditions.
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