The Associated Press is reporting that President Barack Obama said Sunday that Egypt is not going to go back to the way it was before pro-democracy protests took over the country, and played down prospects that the Muslim Brotherhood would play a major role in a new government. "I think that the Muslim Brotherhood is one faction in Egypt," Obama said. "They don't have majority support."
In an interview with Fox Television's Bill O'Reilly, Obama acknowledged that the banned group has some anti-American sentiments. The president also said that only Mubarak knows what he's going to do now, but the people have spoken and want him out. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that forcing Mubarak to leave office quickly could complicate the already enormous challenges Egypt faces in transforming itself from an autocracy to democracy. A speedy exit may negatively affect the steps Mubarak has already put into place for reform.
Clinton has a point. Egypt's vice president met a broad representation of major opposition groups for the first time Sunday and agreed to allow freedom of the press and to release those detained since anti-government protests began. Hopefully Mubarak will take Obama's advice to "refrain from violence" and repression. Clearly, it hasn't worked.
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