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Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 02/ 6/2011

Madeleine Albright: 'The Mubarak era is over' (Sunday talk shows)

By Felicia Sonmez and Emi Kolawole


Egyptian Vice President: Mubarak will not step down immediately

Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said that President Hosni Mubarak will not give up power immediately, because "with this atmosphere, that means that the other people who have their own agenda will make instability in our country." Suleiman said that he himself will not run for president and that he agreed to serve as vice president "just to help the president in this critical time." On the government's promised talks with opposition parties, Suleiman said that Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei would not be included because he "is not one of the opposition." Asked about the motivations of the young people involved in the recent protests, Suleiman suggested that "others are pushing them to do that," pointing to those from outside Egypt. Suleiman added that his message to those who are protesting in Tahrir Square is that "we can say only go home; we cannot do more than that. We cannot push them by force."

Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry said that lifting Egypt's decades-long state of emergency "would be a very significant move" and "an indication of confidence that the political process is moving forward." He called the recent crackdown on journalists "deplorable," noting that it's been condemned "by various officials in the Egyptian government as totally unacceptable." Asked why violence against protesters was allowed to take place, Shoukry responded that "this is a very wide protest movement. The emotions were high and the situation was tense, and the capability of the military to handle this sort of situation was not at the outset sufficient," he said, adding that "that has been rectified."


Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering: In Egypt, "one swallow doesn't make a summer"

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Israel and Jordan Thomas Pickering and vice president and director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution Martin Indyk provided their assessment of the situation on the ground and the administration's response. "One swallow doesn't make a summer," said Pickering of the reported progress being made in light of the continued protests. "We're going to have to wait and see and look very carefully." Indyk offered praise for the administration. "I would give President Obama credit here that, while he hasn't always got the messaging right, he's got the basic policy right, which is to get on the side of change and to try to use what influence we have to shape it in a peaceful and orderly way but to make clear that democracy needs to come to Egypt."

Jordanian Prince El-Hassan bin Talal warned that the Muslim Brotherhood should not be excluded from the negotiations in Egypt, and insisted that there was no question Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would have to leave office. "I think the question is not whether he'll step down," said Hassan. "He said he will step down but it's a question of what follows."


John Kerry: Envoy Frank Wisner's remarks on Egypt "don't reflect" administration's views

Nobel Peace laureate and Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei said that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "has the right to live in Egypt, but he has to cease power." Asked about special envoy Frank Wisner's remarks that Mubarak should stay in power for the near future, ElBaradei said that the remarks "came down here like a piece of lead" and noted that the U.S. must be "very clear" that it's on the side of the Egyptian people. On whether Egypt should maintain its peace treaty with Israel, ElBaradei responded, "I think so, but it is not just dependent on Egypt. It's dependent on Israel." Asked whether Mubarak will step down before September, Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry said that "that is a decision for the president to make." He acknowledged that the Egypt of the future "will look significantly different than the Egypt of our past." Shoukry said that the Egyptian government "condemns all forms of violence" and that there has been no "definite evidence" that the government was behind recent attacks on protesters and journalists.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) also pushed back against Wisner's comments, saying that they "don't reflect where the administration has been from day one. That was not the message that he was asked to deliver or did deliver there," Kerry said. He reiterated that Mubarak must "gracefully" step down and begin the process of transitioning to a caretaker government, adding that he is "encouraged" by the recent developments, including Mubarak's promise to lift the state of emergency.


Madeleine Albright: "The Mubarak era is over."

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright said that it's "very hard to say" whether Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was correct in his assessment that chaos would ensue should he step down immediately. Albright said she believes that "there is never an indispensable leader" and thinks that "the Mubarak era is over." Asked about the U.S. role in Egypt, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John T. Negroponte said that "I don't think we can be in too much of a hurry here." Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Edward S. Walker said that Mubarak "needs to go out with honor, and we can help him do that."

Former Wyoming Republican senator Alan Simpson weighed in on the country's fiscal situation, saying that anyone calling for budget cuts that did not include Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Defense were issuing "a sparrow's belch in the midst of a typhoon." Simpson also requested an opportunity to clarify his previous remarks referring to Social Security as "a milk cow with 310 million tits." "I meant to say that America was a milk cow with 300 million tits, not social security," he said.


Janet Napolitano: "I understand what we're asking of passengers"

Asked about the recent changes in Transportation Security Administration screening procedures, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano responded, "I understand what we're asking of passengers." She also said she had experienced the enhanced pat-downs TSA agents currently give passengers who refuse to go through the full-body scanners.

Napolitano refused to say whether there was a particular threat that made her more nervous than others. "I don't rank 'em in that sort of fashion," Napolitano said. She also compared the Department of Homeland Security's work with members of the Muslim community to counter radical Islam in the United States to traditional police work.

By Felicia Sonmez and Emi Kolawole  | February 6, 2011; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency, Sunday Talkies  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Egyptian PM: 'The situation is extremely better' (video)
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Posted by: azei2n | February 7, 2011 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I would encourage your readers to visit this article on the Independent

Posted by: azei2n | February 7, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Is it true that the TSA paid a large sum of money to the flamily of a TSA worker up in new york that died of cancer just to keep them quiet

Posted by: gwolfpack | February 6, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Albright, Albright...oh yes, isn't she the dame who danced joyfully with Kim Jong Il?

Posted by: gjtitus | February 6, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

better Mr.Mubarak leave the office.he has ruled 30 years.that is enough.every boady must think why to people came to the street now.because the government is not good than before.there will be a peace after Mubrak leave the office.if not the government will have more problems.

Posted by: cwignarajhotmailcom | February 6, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

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