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Secretary of State Clinton: Reform and Restraint is Key

January 28, 2011

NY Times reports: With events in Egypt unfolding at a furious pace, Mrs. Clinton’s statement toughened the administration’s line, after two days in which senior officials have struggled to balance their longstanding alliance with Mr. Mubarak with a desire to support the democratic aspirations of his restive people.

Mrs. Clinton said that the future of Egypt was up to the Egyptian people, which seemed to open the door to political change. “There is a constant concern for the need of greater openness, greater participation, particularly on the part of young people,” she said, noting that she had raised this issue two weeks ago in Qatar, where she bluntly warned Arab leaders to reform their societies.

In her statement, Mrs. Clinton reiterated that Egypt was a partner of the United States in strategic and regional issues. But she said, “as a partner, we strongly believe that the Egyptian government needs to engage immediately with the Egyptian people in implementing needed economic, political and social reforms.”

Mrs. Clinton also urged the government “to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications,” referring to its decision — apparently unprecedented — to cut off all Internet services in the country, as well as mobile phone networks in some areas.

She also called on the demonstrators to “refrain from violence and express themselves peacefully.”

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