U.S. Senators Tour Egypt's Tahrir Square
Two U.S. senators toured Egypt's Tahrir Square Sunday, one month after riots there forced President Hosni Mubarak's resignation and resulted in numerous violent attacks on American journalists and other Western media representatives.
Speaking with the official Middle East News Agency (MENA), Senator John McCain explained that he and Senator Joseph Lieberman had come on a solidarity visit. He noted the Egyptian people had fought hard for their freedom, and said the U.S. would do its best to assist them in their quest. But the two, escorted by American Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey, added that ultimately, the future lies in the hands of the Egyptian people.
"The sun is shining now in Cairo," Lieberman told reporters, but "the light of freedom exists there because the Egyptian people held a peaceful revolution." He added the U.S. will try to ensure more freedom for Egyptians and a better economic future.
Although Egypt's military formed an interim government following the resignation of former President Mubarak, protesters are not satisfied and have continued to demonstrate in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
The protesters are specifically dissatisfied with the pace of change in the ancient land, with some insisting on the ouster of the current government as well, particularly Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who was appointed by the former president.
The U.S. and others are watching events in Cairo, trying to determine whether or not the government will ultimately be controlled by the formerly outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood cleric banned from Egypt 50 years ago for his extremist views, returned to the podium in Cairo earlier this month, addressing a crowd of more than a million supporters.
Lieberman: U.S. Backs Libya's Interim Gov't
Commenting on the violence in Libya as opposition forces close in on dictator Muammar Qaddafi's base in Tripoli, McCain said Qaddafi had dealt with his people in a savage way. The dictator was holding on to his position by killing the Libyan people, McCain said, adding it is important to offer them support.
According to a report published in the online edition of the Al Ahram newspaper, Lieberman said the U.S. has imposed a no-fly zone on Libya in addition to its sanctions. America will support the transitional government established by opposition forces in western Libya, he said.
Qaddafi's actions since the revolution began constitute crimes against humanity, Lieberman told reporters, and merit a trial before the International Criminal Court at The Hague.