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State Department denies dictating to Cairo

Iranian demonstrators burn a picture of American president Barack Obama during an Anti-Mubarak demonstration, in Tehran, Iran, February 4, 2011. Hundreds of Iranians attended an Anti-Mubarak demonstration to show their solidarity with Egyptian the people. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian
Iranian demonstrators burn a picture of American president Barack Obama during an Anti-Mubarak demonstration, in Tehran, Iran, February 4, 2011. Hundreds of Iranians attended an Anti-Mubarak demonstration to show their solidarity with Egyptian the people. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley Wednesday denied the United States is trying to tell the Egyptian government what to do.

Egypt has been wracked by anti-government protests since Jan. 25, with tens of thousands of Egyptians daily packing Tahrir Square in the heart of Cairo, demanding President Hosni Mubarak resign immediately. In response, Mubarak, 82, who has been in power for three decades, has agreed not to seek re-election in September and the government has taken a number of other steps aimed at appeasing the demonstrators.

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"With all due respect, it's less about what we think. It's more about what the people of Egypt thinks, what they think," Crowley told the daily State Department briefing.

"There have been pledges made by the government. There have been commitments that have been advanced by the government. And now it's important to have actions -- real actions -- that are consistent with those, you know, pledges."

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Earlier in the day, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit accused Washington of trying to dictate to Cairo.

"With all due respect to the foreign minister, he should not be amazed, if that's the word that he used, at our call for rescinding the emergency law. We have been calling for that for years, if not decades," Crowley said.

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"So, again, you know, let's go from back to front. What we want to see, you know, for Egypt, and we think it's vitally important to Egypt's future, is, you know, free, fair and credible elections. … And we continue to advocate for the kinds of actions that, first, you know, show that the process that is unfolding is credible, and that -- and, second, that it is inclusive of -- you know, a process where opposition figures, members of civil society, have a real opportunity to participate in this process."

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