US discussing ‘meaningful transition’ with Egypt
In the UK and international papers today, all papers cover the developments in Egypt as anti-government protests continue to take place. In the latest news, President Hosni Mubarak told ABC News in an interview that he would like to step down but feared that further chaos would unravel if this happened. In addition, the papers note a New York Times article that reports the US is working on a plan to allow President Mubarak to step down immediately and for a transitional government led by Vice President Omar Suleiman to take over until the elections. Meanwhile, several papers note that thousands of Yemenis took to the streets to protest on Thursday for and against the government. Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh recently announced that he will step down in 2013 before the next elections. The Guardian reports how the spirit of protests in Egypt and Tunisia has spread to Yemen, Algeria and Syria. In other news, the Times and the Telegraph note that a report by a leading think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that Iran could be able to build a nuclear bomb within two years and that its ambition to produce a nuclear weapon is “beyond reasonable doubt”.
In the Israeli press, all papers report on a New York Times article that notes a US plan that allows President Mubarak to step down immediately and for a transitional government led by Vice President Omar Suleiman to take over until the elections. Haaretz notes that the unrest in Egypt has spurred the Palestinian Authority to hold local elections, followed by general elections in the near future. Ynetnews reports that Defence Minister Ehud Barak started interviewing candidates for the IDF chief of staff position after the nomination of Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant was withdrawn. Haaretz and Ynetnews note that Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad said yesterday that the failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict increased desperation in the region and fuelled the protests in Egypt and other countries. The Jerusalem Post notes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Quartet Middle East Envoy Tony Blair yesterday ahead of a Quartet meeting on Saturday in Munich. Netanyahu, on Wednesday told the Knesset that Israel will offer incentives that will improve the Palestinian economy.