Clinton, Hague make calls for reforms in Egypt

US sec. of state calls for orderly transition to democracy, acknowledging there's still a long way to go; UK foreign sec. calls for "genuine reforms."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 311 AP (photo credit: AP)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 311 AP
(photo credit: AP)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UK Foreign Minister William Hague both criticized Egypt's Mubarak regime Sunday, calling for reforms and a serious path towards democracy.
"I want the Egyptian people to have a chance to chart a new future," said Clinton, who addressed the volatile situation in back-to-back interviews on the five morning TV news shows before leaving on a trip to Haiti.
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Asked if she thought longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had taken the necessary steps so far to hold on, Clinton said, "It's not a question of who retains power. ... It's how are we going to respond to the legitimate needs and grievances expressed by the Egyptian people and chart a new path. Clearly, the path that has been followed has not been one that has created that democratic future, that economic opportunity that people in the peaceful protests are seeking."
"We want to see free and fair elections and we expect that this will be one of the outcomes of what is going on" now, Clinton said.
She spoke of the need for "an orderly, peaceful transition to real democracy, not faux democracy, like the elections we saw in Iran two years ago."
"We are totally committed to working with the Egyptians that are interested in a true democracy," she said.
Hague criticized the Egyptian government through his Twitter account. In his "tweet," Hague told the Mubarak regime that "genuine reforms [are] needed [as well as a] clear path towards an open society based on democratic values."
Also Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet that he was "anxiously following" the crisis, saying in his first public comments on the situation that Israel's three-decade-old peace agreement with Egypt must be preserved.
The statements came as the US State Department and several other states urged their citizens to leave Egypt. The US Embassy in Cairo warned Americans to avoid travel to Egypt because of unrest, violence, and ongoing demonstrations against Mubarak's government.
A number of countries, including Turkey, Belgium, Iraq, India, China and the Philippines, followed the US and also issued warnings and offered to help citizens and tourists leave Egypt.
Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt
Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt