UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon salutes a “historic moment” in Egypt. “I respect what must have been a difficult decision taken in the wider interests of the Egyptian people,” he says. “I reiterate my call, made as recently as last night, for a transparent, orderly and peaceful transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, and includes free, fair, and credible elections leading to the early establishment of civilian rule.”
More from Ban Ki-moon: “The voice of the Egyptian people – particularly the youth – has been heard and it is for them to determine the future of their country. I commend the people of Egypt for the peaceful, courageous and orderly manner, in which they have exercised their legitimate rights. I call on all parties to continue in the same sprit.”
- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigned after more than two weeks of growing protests against him across the country. The news was greeted with a massive outburst of joy and riotous celebration by hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
- Mr Mubarak’s powers will be taken over by the Higher Council of the Armed Forces. It said it understood the people’s demand for radical change.
- The opposition figure, Mohammed ElBaradei, described the resignation of Mr Mubarak as the greatest day of his life, while a Muslim Brotherhood leader said Egyptians had made history.
- US President Barack Obama said Mr Mubarak’s resignation was just the start of Egypt’s transformation. He called on the military to lift the state of emergency and prepare for free and fair elections.
And so it happened and all is well … or is it? Hopefully, provided the military keeps its promise, doen’t try to turn itself into the new regime, and it isn’t a manoeuver … which it can’t be.
The problem I see, from my couch in Sussex, is an inevitable, if transient, power vacuum in the Middle East. A dictator Mubarak undoubtably was, but for all that he was a prop against all sorts of unpleasantness.
But what do I know? Good on them, I say!