Tuesday, February 8, 2011
By MARK LANDLER
Published: February 6, 2011
Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Her remarks were the Obama administration’s most explicit sign yet of its growing emphasis on averting instability in Egypt, even at the expense of the key demand from the Egyptian protest movement: Mr. Mubarak’s immediate removal.
Citing the Egyptian Constitution, Mrs. Clinton said that if Mr. Mubarak stepped down now, Egypt would have to hold elections for a new president in 60 days — too little time for the government or the opposition to organize a credible vote.
Her comments, made to reporters on the way home from a conference in Munich, echo what administration officials have said privately and some of what the White House’s temporary diplomatic emissary to Cairo, Frank G. Wisner, said publicly on Sunday: Mr. Mubarak is likely to remain in the picture, at least a while longer.
Mrs. Clinton reiterated that Mr. Mubarak’s future was up to the Egyptian people and declined to discuss what role he should play between now and September, when Egypt is scheduled to hold an election in which he has said neither he nor his son Gamal will compete.
But Mr. Mubarak’s resignation now would set off a chain of events, Mrs. Clinton said. Under the Constitution — a document she conceded not having thought about before this week — the speaker of Parliament would step in as a caretaker president, followed by quick elections.
“Now the Egyptians are the ones who are having to grapple with the reality of what they must do,” she said, noting that opposition leaders, including Mohamed ElBaradei, had also talked about the need for time. “That’s not us saying it; that’s the Egyptians saying it,” Mrs. Clinton said.
She made no mention of the desired outcome frequently discussed by protest leaders: that Mr. Mubarak would step down, the Constitution would be suspended for a transition that could take up to a year, the current Parliament would be unseated and then new elections would be held.
For nearly two weeks, as the protests have raged in Cairo, the administration has struggled to square its ties to Mr. Mubarak, a stalwart ally for nearly three decades, with its desire not to be seen as abandoning the demonstrators, who are crying for the president’s immediate departure.
US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey said on Friday that more US military forces may be needed to counter what he called “threats to Iraq's stability, [and they] will remain in 2012."
The prospects of a longer US military stay in Iraq contradict the clauses of a 2008 agreement between Baghdad and Washington.
The agreement established that US combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and that all US forces would be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011.
The Iraqi government initially intended to hold a popular vote on the agreement but later succumbed to US bully-tactics and accepted the agreement.
Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, more than 1,300,000 people have been killed in Iraq, 4.7 million displaced, 5 million children orphaned -- nearly half of the country's children -- and the health status has deteriorated to a level not seen since the 1950s.
WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama are seeking a sweeping deal to establish a North American security and trade perimeter, opening talks Friday that could lead to jointly operated Canada-U.S. border facilities, an integrated entry-exit system to track travellers and the deployment of "cross-designated" law enforcement officers to intercept terrorists and criminals
Read more: http://www.canada.com/business/Harper+Obama+agree+integrate+border+creating+security+trade+perimeter/4225641/story.html#ixzz1DNJi7pUr