ElBaradei: Egypt 'thirsty' for change

April 15, 2010 at 5:23 PM
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CAIRO, April 15 (UPI) -- Potential Egyptian presidential candidate Mohammed ElBaradei said Egypt was "thirsty for change."

Egypt, he says, is at a dead-end after almost 30 years of the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the top nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, in an interview with the BBC said Egypt needed a new government after being led by Mubarak for nearly three decades.

"People are thirsty for change," he told the BBC.

He added, however, that he would only run for president if the constitution is altered to allow for independent candidates.

ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has a high standing in the West since his tenure at the IAEA and is admired in the Middle East for standing up to Washington when it claimed Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

The headwind from Washington then is nothing compared to the grilling Egypt's pro-government media is giving him now, he said.

"I think they are panicking because of the increasing snowball effect of the call for change," he said. "I thought I was vilified by the Bush regime, compare that to the vilification I am getting in my own country -- I am the devil incarnate," he told the BBC.

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