Clinton: U.S. not taking sides in Egypt

Jan. 30, 2011 at 1:53 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The United States is remaining neutral on who would fill a potential power vacuum in Egypt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday.

Clinton said the Obama administration was not yet taking sides in regards to a potential new power structure to replace embattled President Hosni Mubarak.

"I'm not speculating about, you know, who goes or who stays," Clinton said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "And I'm not prepared to comment on what kind of democratic process the Egyptian people can construct for themselves."

Clinton said it was hoped the new officials rising up in Mubarak's wobbly government might "contribute to the kind of democratic and economic reforms" the demonstrators in Cairo have been demanding.

Clinton told ABC's "This Week with Christian Amanpour" that U.S. military aid to Egypt had not been halted, although Cairo had been informed that the United States did not want to see any escalation of the current street violence.

"There is no discussion as of this time about cutting off any aid," Clinton said. "We always are looking and reviewing our aid."

Clinton said the United States had a long relationship with Mubarak that had contributed to regional stability in the Middle East; however, she added that democracies have to have genuine participation from the public in order to survive.

Meanwhile, Clinton waffled Sunday on the political upheaval in Egypt, praising and decrying the process in a Fox News interview.

Clinton's diplomatic skills were tested in the interview when pressed about the uprising that has killed more than 50 people in Egypt, where the 30-year autocratic rule of Mubarak is being challenged.

She also hinted the United States sees an end to Mubarak's reign.

"We want to see an orderly transition so that no one fills a void, that there's not a void, that there be a well thought-out plan that will bring about a democratic, participatory government," Clinton said.

Despite the "transition" reference, Clinton said there was confidence in Washington about Mubarak's governance.

"Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable, and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," she said.

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