Egyptian democracy needs steady U.S. pressure

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Saturday, December 25, 2010; 5:49 PM

Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner is right that next year's presidential elections represent "A chance for democracy in Egypt" [op-ed, Dec. 18]. Unfortunately, the likelihood that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will change his ways after 30 years of intransigence on political reform without significant and sustained pressure must be regarded as extremely low.

Mr. Posner mapped out some concrete steps the Egyptian government could take, such as lifting its emergency laws and admitting international election monitors, but only a concerted effort from the U.S. government will have a chance of persuading the Egyptian government to move forward with long-promised reforms. If the administration believes political reform in Egypt to be "essential," that message must be delivered with much more urgency and consistency from senior levels of the government, including the president and the secretary of state, than it has been to date.

Neil Hicks, New York

The writer is the international policy adviser for Human Rights First.


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