Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement regarding the ongoing events in Egypt:

“I am extremely concerned about the ongoing events in Egypt.  President Mubarak has been an important and valued friend of the United States, but the response of the Egyptian government to the ongoing protests, and to the broader demands of its citizens, is deeply troubling.  I am disturbed by reports that Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was assaulted by Egyptian security forces today and is now under house arrest.  I call on the Egyptian government to release him immediately, along with other peaceful protesters, and for all parties to refrain from the use of violence.  Where the free flow of information and communication has been shut down or restricted, it should be promptly restored.  I am especially troubled by reports that the Egyptian government has ordered the military into the streets in response to the protest.  I strongly believe the Egyptian military has no role to play in resolving the present situation.

“The demonstrations in Egypt underscore the just demands of the Egyptian people for political, economic, and social reform.  I urge the Egyptian government to heed this call by taking concrete and immediate steps to address the legitimate grievances of Egypt’s citizens.  Such steps could include the repeal of the emergency law, restoring independent judicial supervision of elections, opening greater space for political parties to organize and compete peacefully for power, and permitting credible national and international monitors to be present in the upcoming presidential elections. U.S. officials have urged Egyptian officials for many years, both publicly and privately, to undertake these and other reforms, out of our concern for Egypt’s long-term stability and in the spirit of friendship that has characterized our bilateral partnership.  I hope the current protests serve as a wake-up call for the Egyptian government to undertake reforms.

“This is a pivotal moment for U.S.-Egyptian relations.  The actions and decisions of the Egyptian government in the hours and days ahead could have significant implications for our bilateral relationship, including U.S. assistance.”

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