EGYPT: Israeli, Saudi officials respond to unrest

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Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Thursday said that it was up to the Egyptian people to ‘find [their] way’ according to the country’s constitution, Reuters reported.

Speaking to reporters after meeting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Barak was responding to a question about Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s plan to remain in office while delegating some authority to his vice president.

Israeli lawmaker Benjamin Ben-Eliezer — who spoke with the Egyptian president by phone on Thursday before his speech — described Mubarak as ‘different from what I heard on the news.’

‘He sounded very strong and defiant,’ Ben-Eliezer said. ‘He analyzed the situation properly and tried to predict the future of the Middle East.’


In Saudi Arabia, officials have offered Mubarak a place to live, but have advised him not to leave, an Arab diplomatic source told CNN. Saudi Arabia has denounced the ‘flagrant interference of some countries’ in the internal affairs of Egypt, the official Saudi Press Agency reported late Wednesday, citing the kingdom’s foreign minister, Prince Saud al Faisal.

Saudi Arabia is confident that Egypt will ‘overpass the ordeal and seek a peaceful solution to the crisis’ in a way that would ‘not negatively affect its economy or tamper with its stability and security,’ the official news service cited Prince Saud as saying.


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— Molly Hennessy-Fiske