Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Wolfowitz by any other name...

Egyptian opposition rejects Laura Bush comments

CAIRO (Reuters) - Opponents of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak objected on Tuesday to U.S. First Lady Laura Bush's support for Mubarak's approach to political reform, and several said she did not know what she was talking about.

"What she said is really frustrating for most opposition forces in Egypt," said Gameela Ismail, wife of opposition leader Ayman Nour and a spokeswoman for his Ghad (Tomorrow) Party.

"She seems not to know enough about Egypt. I'm really amazed," Ismail told Reuters outside a downtown cinema where police and men in plain clothes dispersed a small protest against Wednesday's referendum on the Egyptian constitution.
Laura Bush adopted the Egyptian official line when she said on Monday, on a visit to the Giza pyramids, that Mubarak's proposal to introduce direct presidential elections was bold and wise and political reform must happen slowly.

The government is holding a referendum on Wednesday on a constitutional amendment letting independents and political parties compete for the presidency but setting tough conditions.

Opposition groups say it will enable the ruling party to stay in power indefinitely and Egyptians should not vote.

A leading member of the liberal Wafd Party, Mohamed Elwan, said: "What she said matters to the rulers because it is in the hands of foreigners to keep them in their positions."

Washington gives Egypt, one of the few Arab countries to have signed a peace agreement with U.S. ally Israel, about $1.8 billion a year in economic and military aid.

It doesn't matter if the messenger puts on lipstick or spits on his comb before delivering the message--cynical and ignorant is still cynical and ignorant.


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