International

For Egypt, 'Taking Some Time' Before Elections Is 'Prudent,' U.S. Says

Egyptian anti-government demonstrators and members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement pray in front of Egyptian soldiers at Cairo's Tahrir square earlier today (Feb. 7, 2011). i i

Egyptian anti-government demonstrators and members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement pray in front of Egyptian soldiers at Cairo's Tahrir square earlier today (Feb. 7, 2011). Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images
Egyptian anti-government demonstrators and members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement pray in front of Egyptian soldiers at Cairo's Tahrir square earlier today (Feb. 7, 2011).

Egyptian anti-government demonstrators and members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement pray in front of Egyptian soldiers at Cairo's Tahrir square earlier today (Feb. 7, 2011).

Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

It's Day 14 of the protests in Egypt, where demonstrators are demanding that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak step down immediately. He remains in place, though his government has opened talks with opposition groups, including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

On Morning Edition today, host Steve Inskeep talked with State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley about the United States' latest position. The bottomline: Mubarak has said he will stay until after elections in September, and Crowley explained why the U.S. believes time is indeed needed before a vote is held:

— "There are constitutional changes that have to be made [in Egypt] to allow for a free and fair election. The elections that Egypt has had ... have been anything but free and fair. Egypt has some decisions to make and some actions to take to open up a genuine political process. ... Which will take time."

— "If you want to have an election that opens up political space ... and gives the Egyptian people real choices, than taking some time is a prudent action."

We'll post an update later on the situation in Egypt. In the meantime, here is the audio of Steve's conversation with Crowley:

Steve Inskeep speaks with P.J. Crowley

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