Lalit K Jha
Washington, Feb 5 (PTI) As uncertainty gripped Egypt,US President Barack Obama has delivered a clear hint to HosniMubarak to step down by listening to his people and make the"right decision".
Calling for immediate start of an "orderly transition"in Egypt, where tens of thousands of people are rallying forouster of Mubarak, Obama said the Egyptian strongman shouldreconsider his position amid a mass uprising.
"In order for Egypt to have a bright future, the onlything that will work is moving an orderly transition processthat begins right now that engages all parties, leads todemocratic practises, fair and free elections, andrepresentative government that is responsive to the grievancesof the Egyptian people," Obama said during his jointinteraction with visiting Canadian Prime Minister StephenHarper.
As unrest escalated in the North African nation, Obamahad telephonic talk on the situation with Turkish PrimeMinister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"He (Mubarak) needs to listen to what is being voicedby the Egyptian people, and make a judgement about the wayforward that is orderly, but that is meaningful and serious,"the US president said.
Though Obama did not explicitly say that Mubarakshould leave power immediately, but his choice of words madeit clear that Washington is pinning for an immediate politicaltransition in Egypt that does not include Mubarak.
Obama''s message for change came as the New York Timesquoting top US officials reported that US is pushing for VicePresident Omar Sulaiman to head a new transition governmentbacked by the army.
Egypt''s Prime Minster Ahmed Shafiq, however, ruled outa possibility that Mubarak would hand over or transfer powerto Sulaiman.
Obama said since Mubarak has himself announced he isnot going to be running again, he should be thinking on how toleave a legacy behind in which Egypt is able to get throughthis trans formative period.
Terming the Egyptian President as a proud patriot,Obama said he has suggested Mubarak that he needs to consultwith those who are in his government.
"Having made that psychological break, that decisionthat he will not be running again, I think its most importantfor him to ask himself, for the Egyptian government to askitself as well as the opposition to ask itself is, how do wemake the transition effective, lasting and legitimate?" Obamasaid.
During each of his conversations with Mubarak, Obamasaid he emphasised the fact that the future of Egypt is goingto be in the hands of Egyptians.