Hillary Clinton Urges Change That Responds to ‘Legitimate Grievances’ of Egyptian People

January 30, 2011 - 10:02 AM

egypt-police

A police officer joins anti-government protesters in Suez, Egypt, on Jan. 29, 2011. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an “orderly transition” in Egypt on Sunday, using that phrase several times in an interview with "Fox News Sunday." She also urged "restraint" on the part of the Egyptian military.

Clinton said the United States advocates “change that will respond to the legitimate grievances” of the Egyptian people.

She said the United States does not want to see any group – the Muslim Brotherhood, for example – fill a leadership void in Egypt, if – as the protesters are demanding – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is toppled.

"We want to see an orderly transition so that no one fills a void, that there not be a void, that there be a well-thought-out plan that will bring about a democratic participatory government," she said.  "We also don't want to see some takeover that would lead not to democracy but to oppression and the end of the aspirations of the Egyptian people.”

Clinton said the Obama administration is calling for restraint on the part of Egypt’s military: “We do not want to see violence by any security forces," she told ABC's “This Week.”

So far, the Egyptian military "is demonstrating restraint," but at the same time, Clinton said the military must "differentiate between peaceful protesters, whom we all support, and potential looters and other criminal elements who are obviously a danger to the Egyptian people."

There has been "no discussion" about cutting off U.S. military aid to Egypt, Clinton told ABC News. She called for a "process of national dialogue" to begin, so the Egyptian people are reassured that “their legitimate grievances are being addressed."

The U.S. recognizes that Egypt has been a partner in peace for over 30 years, keeping the region from erupting in war during that time, Clinton said. She said real stability in Egypt depends on democratic reform as well as economic opportunity for the Egyptian people – “and how we get to that point" is what this is about now.

House Majority Leader John Boehner, who also appeared on Fox News Sunday, said he thinks the Obama administration has handled “this tense situation pretty well.”

Boehner said the United States has a “responsibility” to respond to people who are demanding freedom and democracy, and he said the Egyptian people do “have legitimate grievances.”

Boehner also backed Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s comments on the importance of preventing Islamic radicals from taking over in Egypt: “America must stand with her ally Egypt to preserve an imperfect government capable of reform; and prevent a tyrannical government capable of harm,” McCotter said on his Web site.

“Right now, freedom's radicalized enemies are subverting Egypt and our other allies,” McCotter (Mich.) warned.

McCotter also criticized the Obama administration for failing to support the popular uprising in Iran two years ago, saying the crisis in Egypt “has been hastened and exacerbated by the U.S. Administration's refusal to whole-heartedly embrace Iran's truly democratic 2009 Green Revolution.”