Historic moment for Egypt, U.S. says

Feb. 22, 2011 at 4:01 PM
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CAIRO, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Egypt is at a historic moment in its long history as it embarks on its new path toward open and inclusive democracy, a top U.S. official said in Cairo.

The Egyptian military took control of the affairs of state Feb. 11 when Hosni Mubarak resigned as president of Egypt after more than 30 years in office. The regime change was brought on by largely peaceful protesters demanding better social conditions and a transparent government.

U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs William Burns spoke before delegates at the Arab League in Cairo, lauding Egypt's willingness to embrace democracy in the post-Mubarak era.

"This is a moment of extraordinary promise for Egypt and for Egyptians," he said in a statement. "It's a moment when Egypt has only just begun its historic transition to democracy."

Western governments are calling on the military to lift a state of emergency that has been in place for much of the Mubarak era. Military authorities said they were reviewing the country's constitution and pledged to have elections this year.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which formed the largest opposition to Mubarak, said it was forming a political party in Egypt. The National Democratic Party, the former ruling authority, vowed to continue its work despite accusations several of its members helped orchestrate violence against anti-government demonstrators.

The British government, meanwhile, said it was no longer advising against travel to Egypt.

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