While the Obama administration has remained publicly agnostic on whether Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should remain in power, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a couple broad suggestions for Mubarak on Sunday: open a public dialogue with well-known reform advocates, and allow for free and fair elections.
CLINTON [CNN]: ... So how do we get from where they are today to where they would like to be? It needs to be done immediately with a process that brings people to the table and that the Egyptian people can see, "Oh, I know so-and-so. He represents a group that has been advocating for democracy for many years."This is going to be a legitimate effort that is going to result in changes that will have responded to the needs and the voices of the people who have been protesting.
CLINTON [CNN]: ... We are also very much behind the kind of concrete steps that need to be taken for economic and political reform. We have, over the past 30 years, supported civil society groups. We have supported women's groups. We have tried to help build up a lot of the elements within Egyptian society that are going to be necessary when there is a national dialogue as we are urging to determine the path forward.
CLINTON [NBC]: Now is the time to move towards a national dialogue, to take concrete steps, to create the political space for peaceful protest and for the creation of peaceful oppositions that want to help work towards a better future. That is what we want to see.
CLINTON [NBC]: It needs an orderly, peaceful transition to real democracy, not faux democracy like the elections we saw in iran two years ago where you have one election 30 years ago and then the people just keep staying in power and become less and less responsive they're people. we want to see a real democracy that reflects the vibrancy of Egyptian society. and we believe that President Mubarak, his government, civil society, political activists need to be part of a national dialogue to bring that about.
CLINTON [CNN]: You know, again, Candy, this is going to be up to the Egyptian people. But let's look at what we have. We have a calendar that already has elections for the next president scheduled, so there is an action-enforcing event that is already on the calendar. Can there be efforts made to really respond to the political desires of the people so that such an election is free and fair and credible?There are many steps that can be taken by reaching out to those who have advocated a peaceful, orderly transition to greater democracy where the Egyptian people themselves get to express their views. That's what we wish to see.
CLINTON [NBC]: We have been urging free and fair election for many years. I mean, I do think it's important to recognize that through Republican and Democratic administrations alike, America's message has been consistent. We want to see free and fair elections, and we expect that that will be one of the outcomes of what is going on in Egypt right now. So we have been sending that message over and over again, publicly and privately, and we continue to do so.