Friday, November 12, 2010

Silent on Egypt

Washington Post
November 12, 2010

Senior Obama administration officials profess to share congressional concerns about recent political developments in Egypt. With a parliamentary election due Nov. 28, 82-year-old President Hosni Mubarak has launched a crackdown against his opposition and independent media; he also has rejected a direct appeal from President Obama to allow international observers at the polls. So when Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit visited the State Department on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton might have been expected to press him about the repression - and also to make clear to Egyptians where the United States stands.

After the meeting, Ms. Clinton duly appeared with Mr. Aboul Gheit in the State Department's treaty room and offered a summary. She said that they had discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and she commended "the personal commitment of President Mubarak"; she said that they talked about the upcoming referendum in Sudan and the political situation in Lebanon. Said Ms. Clinton: "We also discussed our shared hope that Iraqis will soon form an inclusive government that reflects the interests and the needs of the entire Iraqi population and shares power fairly and legitimately."

About the Egyptian government - which, to say the least, does not "share power fairly and legitimately" - Ms. Clinton said nothing; not one word. To judge from her statement, the subject never came up. "You covered everything," Mr. Aboul Gheit proclaimed after she finished.