Leading Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei, who has joined the anti-government protestors in Cairo, is urging the United States to pressure President Hosni Mubarak to resign.
Speaking to US television reporters, ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate, declared he has a mandate to help form a national unity government and will seek an alliance with the nation’s army.
I have been authorized -- mandated -- by the people who organized these demonstrations and many other parties to agree on a national unity government, ElBaradei told CNN. I hope that I should be in touch soon with the army and we need to work together. The army is part of Egypt. It is better for President Obama not to appear that he is the last one to say to President Mubarak, 'It's time for you to go.
ElBaradei also expressed his doubts about Mubarak’s alleged plans to implement sweeping social and economic reforms.
The American government cannot ask the Egyptian people to believe that a dictator who has been in power for 30 years would be the one to implement democracy. This is a farce, he told CBS. This first thing which will calm the situation is for Mubarak to leave, and leave with some dignity. Otherwise I fear that things will get bloody. And you [the U.S.] have to stop the life support to the dictator and root for the people.
Perhaps of greater importance to ElBaradei (who has not yet said if he plans to run for president himself), he has received the support of Muslim Brotherhood to serve as the face and voice of the opposition movement.
Indeed, ElBaradei has defended the Brotherhood from charges that it is an extremist group.
They are no way extremists. They are no way using violence, he told the ABC network.This is what the regime ... sold to the West and to the U.S.: 'It's either us, repression or al Qaeda-type Islamists.'