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Westerwelle welcomes Mubarak's promise

The Local · 2 Feb 2011, 15:09

Published: 02 Feb 2011 09:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Feb 2011 15:09 GMT+01:00

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“It is good that President Mubarak wants to open the way for a new political start,” Westerwelle told broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk.

But Mubarak must follow up with concrete actions and discussions across the country’s political spectrum, Westerwelle added.

Though participants in massive protests in Egypt have called for Mubarak’s speedy resignation after three decades in power, on Tuesday night the 82-year-old president told the nation in a television address that he would wait until after an autumn election.

Meanwhile demonstrators in the Arab world’s most populous country have said they won’t settle for anything less than an immediate exit.

US President Barack Obama also took a tough stance, saying that a peaceful transfer of power “must begin now.”

During Wednesday’s interview, Westerwelle said that both the European Union nations and the US have been following the uprising in Egypt closely and would insist on a peaceful, democratic solution.

“We do not want those who have taken to the streets to be violently suppressed,” he said, adding that as an important ally of the EU and a stabilising factor in the Middle East peace process, order must be protected.

Later in the day Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said Germany hopes that a "new democratic era" has begun in Egypt.

"The (German) government is pressing for and hoping for a speedy transition to a new era of democracy and full civil rights in Egypt," he said.

"It is not up to us outside to say what the timeframe should be and by which personalities and groups this path should be taken.

"We are just hoping very much that at the end of this path we actually see what millions of people on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria are clearly dreaming of, namely freedom and human rights."

Story continues below…

Meanwhile supporters of embattled Mubarak clashed violently with opposition protesters after storming their rally in central Cairo, leaving several people hurt, witnesses said.

Several days of protests against Mubarak’s rule that have left some 300 people dead and more than 3,000 injured.

DAPD/AFP/The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:11 February 2, 2011 by Willissteel
Okey Europe, before you pop the champagne corks and partying, I would recommend that you should prepare for the influx of refugees from that part of the world as fast as you can(not like it hasn't started already). Do you really think that democracy can actually happen in Egypt or any other countries in that region? Do you think that the Egyptians can handle the western style democracy? Here is what going to happen...after they kicked out Mubarak, there will be a power struggle and in the end the Islamic fundamentalists will come out on top and you infidels will get two things...refugees and terorists!!! Geez, why can't you people learn?
15:10 February 2, 2011 by michael4096
Most muslims want an extremist government about as must as most christians want a puritan government. However, continued western support for tinpot dictators devalues the entire notion of democracy.

It is quite possible that once these countries get the chance for a meaningful vote the backlash against the attitudes above will bring extreme elements into the government process. We only have ourselves to blame.
15:37 February 2, 2011 by Frenemy
@michael4096: That was precisely the type of naive thinking that led Western leaders to condone "free and fair" elections in 1979.

What makes you think Cairo today is any different from Tehran back then?
16:30 February 2, 2011 by michael4096
@Frenemy - you mean when the western supported Shah fell and the backlash against our interference gave other tyrants a chance to game the system - exactly!

The problem isn't free and fair elections - it's that they're not allowed free and fair elections - if Iranians really wanted the current government, it wouldn't need all the population control mechanisms it has.

It's perfectly possible that Cairo will go the same way. And, your solution? Another invasion?
16:47 February 2, 2011 by Frenemy
@michael4096: Nope, I was actually thinking something more along the lines of another 1967-style "Six Day War" (but without brakes this time).

If the alternative to puppet-leaders and pseudo-democracy is an all out "clash of civilizations", I opt for the former. And while I realize that that really sucks for the subjects of dictatorial rule, if it comes down to a question of us or them (being subjugated) I pick them.

Such is the nature of realist geopolitics (don't hate the playa, hate the game).
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