It appears that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is on the verge of stepping down. There’s been a lot of pressure on him in the past couple of days and protestors have made it clear they are not backing down without a serious change in government. Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee penned an OP/ED for the NY Times today, calling on Mubarak to step down. Kerry said:
EVEN if the protests shaking Egypt subside in the coming days, the chaos of the last week has forever changed the relationship between the Egyptian people and their government. The anger and aspirations propelling a diverse range of citizens into the streets will not disappear without sweeping changes in the social compact between the people and the government — and these events also call for changes in the relationship between the United States and a stalwart Arab ally.
President Hosni Mubarak must accept that the stability of his country hinges on his willingness to step aside gracefully to make way for a new political structure.
“It is not enough” Kerry said, for “Mubarak to pledge “fair” elections, as he did on Saturday.”
The most important step that he can take is to address his nation and declare that neither he nor the son he has been positioning as his successor will run in the presidential election this year.
As the government in Egypt transitions Kerry also noted that “Congress and the Obama administration need to consider providing civilian assistance that would generate jobs and improve social conditions in Egypt, as well as guarantee that American military assistance is accomplishing its goals — just as we are trying to do with Pakistan through a five-year nonmilitary assistance package.”
The NY Times reports that a short time ago President Obama spoke out to urge Mubarak not to run again.
The eyes of the world are on Egypt, and free countries across the globe should be supporting their efforts for a better government that offers the hope of greater freedoms. As Kerry said in his OP/ED calling on Mubarak to step down, “It is vital that we stand with the people who share our values and hopes and who seek the universal goals of freedom, prosperity and peace.”
Senator Kerry has been consistently in the forefront on Foreign Relations issues since he became chair of the Senate Committee. There has been some speculation that Kerry “may replace Clinton in a potential second Obama term.” Clinton has said she is not interested in a second term as Secretary of State.
UPDATE: Kerry also spoke with CNN”s John King today on the issue of Mubarak stepping down: