Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (who is facing his own serious problems) has praised embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as a “wise man” and urged an orderly transition for the country to democracy.

I hope that in Egypt there can be a transition toward a more democratic system without a break from President Mubarak, who in the West, above all in the United States, is considered the wisest of men and a precise reference point, he said.

Berlusconi also noted that he hopes “there can be continuity in government, adding he is pleased that Mubarak will not run in the next election in Egypt.

However, Berlusconi’s aides later explained that the Italian leader did not endorse Mubarak as President, rather that he would like to see someone like Mubarak at the head of the country.