CAIRO, March 10 (UPI) -- U.S. assertions that democracy is blooming in the Middle East are fallacies, Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told the Washington Post.
In an interview, Aboul Gheit picked point-by-point through a speech by President Bush Tuesday in which Bush said the invasion of Iraq heralded a door opening to democracy.
"What model are we talking about in Iraq? Bombs are exploding everywhere, and Iraqis are killed every day in the streets," Aboul Gheit said.
Bush also said in a speech at Fort McNair in Washington Palestinian elections indicated "clearly and suddenly the thaw has begun, which Aboul Gheit also dismissed.
"Palestinian elections? There were elections seven years prior," he said.
Aboul Gheit's comments reflect Egypt's ongoing criticism of what it terms U.S.-engineered "regime change" in Iraq as well as with what it regards as U.S. interference in Arab affairs.
"The need for Egypt to be a friend of the United States is something I'm sure people in Washington value very much," the minister said. "We are not subject to any kind of pressure."