Mubarak ouster a victory for 'people power'

2011-02-11 22:28

Paris - World leaders on Friday hailed the toppling of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as an historic victory for people power, paving the way for democracy, amid scenes of jubilation.

As Mubarak's three-decade-long rule ended, a day after he enraged protesters by refusing to stand down, messages of congratulation to the Egyptian people flooded in.

US President Barack Obama said the people of Egypt had spoken after history moved at a "blinding pace," and called on the now-ruling military to ensure a transition towards "genuine democracy."

"The people of Egypt have spoken - their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same," Obama said in his first public response to the earlier resignation of President Hosni Mubarak after days of raging protests.

"By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian peoples' hunger for change," Obama said, in his only reference to a deposed Arab strongman who had been a staunch US ally for three decades.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the "voice of the Egyptian people has been heard", while in the first US reaction to the tumultuous events, Vice President Joe Biden spoke of an "historic day" for Egyptians and a "pivotal moment" in the Middle East.

But Biden also warned Mubarak's departure must lead to a negotiated path towards democracy, cautioning that "delicate and fateful" days lay ahead.

Wall Street reacted to the news from Egypt almost immediately, rebounding from earlier slight losses to solid gains.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy saluted Mubarak's "courageous and necessary" decision to step down, adding: "France calls on all Egyptians to continue their march towards liberty."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Mubarak's departure marked an "historic change" and that she expected Egypt's future government "to continue to keep the peace in the Middle East, in that the agreements made with Israel are respected and Israel's security is guaranteed".

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that with Mubarak's departure Egypt now had a "really precious moment of opportunity to have a government that can bring the country together".

"Those who now run Egypt have a duty to reflect the wishes of the Egyptian people," Cameron said.

Russia however offered a more guarded reaction, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressing hope the power shift "will help the restoration of stability".

In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton judged that the 82-year-old strongman had "listened to the voices of the Egyptian people" who have staged more than two weeks of massive protests for his departure.

Spain promised assistance and joined calls for speedy reforms in Egypt, while India urged the senior Egyptian military commanders handed power "to establish an open and democratic framework of governance".

President Jacob Zuma praised Mubarak for "having thought like a leader, to place the interests of Egypt above his own, and taken the correct decision to leave".

In Tunisia, whose own "Jasmine Revolution" spurred on the Egyptian revolt, people danced in the street and blared their horns.

"It's wonderful! Two dictators have fallen in less than a month," said 23-year-old student Nourredine, referring to January's ouster of Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

Qatar, called the power change a "positive and important step towards achieving the aspirations of the Egyptian people for democracy, reform, and a decent life", according to a statement carried by the state news agency QNA.

Great victory

Reactions came from all quarters of the Islamic world.

Iran described Egyptian protesters as having achieved a "great victory".

"The conquest by the will of the great Egyptian nation over the resistance and persistence of officials who were dependent on the world powers is a great victory," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam television.

From the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri likewise praised the "the start of the victory of the Egyptian revolution" and celebrations erupted across the territory.

Turkey tapped the Internet that has powered the Egyptian revolt, with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu twittering hopes that Mubarak's departure would produce a new "system" meeting the demands of ordinary Egyptians.

Meanwhile, Israel offered a more cautious reaction to Mubarak's departure, with a government official describing the moment as "too important to draw immediate conclusions about the outcome".

"We hope that the transition to democracy, for Egypt and for its neighbours, will be done smoothly," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

But the official also stressed the need to preserve the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, which was signed two years before Mubarak came to power.

  • veld66 - 2011-02-11 22:58

    Israelis have reasons to fear!!!!!!!! the coin has been turned around, they forced Palestine people to barrow tunnels into the ground in order to cross the border into egypt chickens coming home to roost, what about the Yankees who backed the man for 30 solid years?????

      Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-02-11 23:31

      Israel has nothing to fear of a democratic Egypt. Egypt has no reason to start a war with Israel, as a matter of fact the treaty between them was signed before Mubarak came into power, Sadat was murdered by some fanatics because of that. Also the main stabilising force in Egypt has been the army since then. And they are the ones that are closest to the US and currently in charge in Egypt. Stop living in your jihadist LaLa land and wake up to the reality of international relations and politics. The egyptian army has no reason to support any islamist rule in the country, even if the people wanted that (which they don't).

      veld66 - 2011-02-11 23:42

      What about the Palestine people????????? that big Gaza prison????? will this Egyptian revolution change it????

      Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-02-11 23:57

      I don't think that the egyptian changes will have a lot of impact on the relationship with Israel or the way they control goods going into Gaza veld66, at least not for now. Don't forget that Hamas who are in charge in Gaza, unlike the PLO that controls the Westbank, are also a threat to the development and prosperity in Egypt. Egyptians are not likely to support an islamist state. And the powers in the egyptian army most certainly do not want it to be an islamic republic like Iran, whereas the Hamas want exactly that. They may all be muslims, but the majority of egyptians are not as fanatical as those guys. Also the fastest way to a regional conflict there with world wide implications would be to have the Suez canal controlled by fanatics.The route is simply too important to the EU, Turkey, Russia and the USA to let his happen. Should this happen then Israel is the least of their worries.

      veld66 - 2011-02-12 00:11

      @ Hans-Erik Iken i think i like certain aspects of your points, especially about the Jewish settlers in West Bank, I have been to Egypt twice so is Tunisia certainly the majority of people there ar far from being Islamic fanatics, but i have the facts, the Israelis have lot to fear now considering the fact how they have been treating those Palestinians.....

      Zanu - 2011-02-12 06:47

      o good...Patrick Soddof Willis is backā€¦ go on spread THE HATE

      viljoencp - 2011-02-12 07:20

      Patric or is that fatprick stop talking nonsense mate.Go and blow yourself up somewhere else .The world needs unity, not fanatics like you to destabilize the good work of others or are you just POWER hungry?

  • braveinternetguy - 2011-02-11 23:44

    I hope the ANC is paying attention.

      Karoobloed - 2011-02-12 00:05

      I do not think so. They have the support of nearly all of the African people in RSA, which makes up 90% of the population - we already had the people's revolution. A more likely "mini-revolution" would be the militant wing of the ANC taking over (e.g. Malema), and I certainly do not wish to see that happen.

      Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-02-12 00:13

      I think the ANC is paying more attention to the fact that they are losing votes in the poles. They have lost the western cape and keep losing wards. As long as the DA is doing a good job and the ANC brass is not this tremd will continue. Hence the recent remarks about the ANC being a 'cinderella party' in the Cape and the obvious campaigning by JZ with the entry to heaven blooper remark. They do see the poles and it is starting to worry them. There is no need for them to fear an egyptian or tunesian scenario here. And to be fair: those countries were dictatorships, unlike RSA where the government is a reflection of the majority of the votes. You may not be happy about it but that is the way democracy works.

  • slate86 - 2011-02-12 00:43

    May Egypt choose a new path, unaffected by the two evils of the world, American dominance on the one hand, and Isalmic Fundalentimism on the other hand. Keep the Yanks out and keep Allah in the home. Lead the Arican people, and your (Egyptian) people, and their future, and remember their future is more important than the yanks and religion. The rights of mankind before the "Books" and Obama.

  • - 2011-02-12 04:50

    So there is no way that Mubarak is still in power but ruling the country from behind the scenes from a different location? Too easily satisfied are you all. Only after the last note of money is burned in front of the federal reserve bank will we ever be free. Go and check this link to understand what I mean.....

  • Patrick - 2011-02-12 05:14

    This day is ALL about Egyptians -- their courage, their endurance, their intelligence, their faith, their non-violence and also their martyrs. We can see their dignity, pride, joy and we have heard their voices all over the globe. They deserve this celebration and our total admiration. Viva Egypt!

  • mollie.kruger - 2011-02-12 06:19

    Let's sort out Africa - ZIMBABWE NEXT!!!!!

  • Shorts1 - 2011-02-12 06:38

    Mugabe must be the next to go !!!!! The sooner the better for the sake of the whole of Southern Africa.

  • Judicator - 2011-02-12 06:43

    Now its Zimbabwe's turn, chase the dog way!!!!!

  • Judicator - 2011-02-12 06:43

    Now it's Zimbabwe's turn, chase the dog away!!!!

  • Judicator - 2011-02-12 06:45

    Viva !! Let the PEOLE speak and not 1 dumd idiot!!!!

  • Susannomore - 2011-02-12 06:51

    Another idiot come to his sense, thank goodness. My thoughts on the leadership comments; USA - At some stage Obama will take all the credits, because he was "somewhat" involved at the last minutes. David Cameron (Britain) - not realy sure what happened. Brussel - 2 weeks of suffering? That statement speaks for itself Zuma - good words, but just in case he is staying in Mubatak's good books

  • - 2011-02-12 08:16

    Nothing will change in Egypt. The next elections which the UN are calling for different puppets will be nominated for the people to vote for who work for the same people Mubarak was working for :(

  • Busi - 2011-02-12 09:38

    It is such an embarrasment that out government has to date not utterred ONE word of critism against an illigitimate despot, mass murderer and human right oppressor of note - right on our doorstep. No, instead we plea for the lifting of his traveling sanctions. And he gets 5-star treatment, and a hug everytime he comes here. We even sent Juju to him to get trained in destructionism and oppression. We have such a morally currupt leadership!

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