Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP / Egypt TV)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak plans to speak
Tuesday night, announcing he will not run in Egypt's next election, Pan-Arab news network Al Arabiya reported. He
will not answer the protesters demands that he resign immediately,
according to the report. The decision not to run in Egypt's next
elections came at the urging of US President Barack Obama,
The New York Times
reported on Tuesday.
The Obama administration on Tuesday opened talks with a
possible successor to the embattled Mubarak as the
US ramped up outreach to the hundreds of thousands determined to force
their long-time leader out of power.
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The context of the discussions with Nobel peace laureate Mohamed
ElBaradei was not immediately public. But they were taking place as more
than a quarter-million Egyptians gathered in Cairo's main square in
defiance of Mubarak, which signaled the United States is strengthening
its push for a peaceful transition to democracy — and looking for
alternatives to its ally of three decades.
While the US envoy to Egypt, Margaret Scobey, spoke with ElBaradei, the
escalating anti-government protests led the United States to order
non-essential American personnel and their families to leave the
country. Respected former ambassador Frank Wisner was visiting members
of Mubarak's government and Defense Secretary Robert Gates had a
telephone conversation with his Egyptian counterpart, Field Marshal
"The US Embassy in Cairo has been especially
busy in the past several days with an active outreach to political and
civil society," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said in a message
posted to Twitter. "As part of our public outreach to convey support for
orderly transition in Egypt, Ambassador Scobey spoke today with Mohamed
Wisner, who represented the US in Cairo from 1986 to
1991, was being counted on to provide the US government with an
evaluation of the fast-changing situation. "As someone with deep
experience in the region, he is meeting with Egyptian officials and
providing his assessment," the State Department said.
the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. John Kerry,
a Democrat , gave public voice to what senior US officials have said
only privately in recent days: that Mubarak should "step aside
gracefully to make way for a new political structure."
"It is not enough for President Mubarak to pledge 'fair' elections," Kerry wrote in The New York Times
"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."
By midday Tuesday, the administration had
yet to make any public comments on the protests or Mubarak, but renewed a
travel warning for Egypt advising Americans to leave and ordering the
departure of all non-essential government personnel and their families
"in light of recent events." It was an indication of Washington's
deepening concern about developments in Egypt and replaces a decision
last week to allow workers who wanted to leave the country to do so at
The department said it would continue to evacuate private US citizens from Egypt aboard government-chartered planes.
US evacuated more than 1,200 Americans from Cairo on such flights
Monday and said it expected to fly out roughly 1,400 more in the coming
days. Monday's flights ferried Americans from Cairo to Larnaca, Cyprus;
Athens, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey.
On Tuesday, the US added Frankfurt, Germany as a destination and the Egyptian cities of Aswan and Luxor as departure points.
Cairo airport is open and operating but the department warned that
flights may be disrupted and that people should be prepared for lengthy
Egypt's army leadership is reassuring the US that the
powerful military does not intend to crack down on demonstrators, but is
instead allowing protesters to "wear themselves out," according to a
former US official in contact with several top Egyptian army officers.
The Egyptians use a colloquial saying to describe their strategy — a
boiling pot with a lid that's too tight will blow up the kitchen, the
official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private
The officers expressed concern with White House
statements appearing to side with the protesters, saying that stoking
revolt to remove Mubarak risks creating a vacuum that the
banned-but-powerful Muslim Brotherhood could fill, the official said.
the Brotherhood claims to have closed its paramilitary wing long ago,
it has fought politically to gain power. More threatening to the Mubarak
regime, it has built a nationwide charity and social network that much
of Egypt's poverty stricken population depends on for its survival.