By RAY FLEMING
COMPARE and contrast: “You cannot build trust when you hold an election where opposition candidates find themselves harassed or in prison; you cannot expect people to believe in the promise of a better future when they are jailed for peacefully petitioning their government”. And -- “I appreciate very much the long and proud tradition that you've had for a vibrant society...I appreciate very much the example that your nation is setting.” Both quotations are from speeches made by President Bush during the final stages of his eight-day visit to the Middle East. The first comes from remarks he made in the United Arab Emirates which all who heard them assumed were intended to refer to specific oppressive acts by President Mubarak's regime in Egypt; the second, delivered in Egypt in front of President Mubarak was part of a speech full of praise for his host and lacking any criticism. It seems, however, that the United States is disappointed in Egypt and Hosni Mubarak's failure to take notice of the heavy hints on the need for progress in democratic reforms dropped by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Mr Bush himself. After visits to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Mr Bush allocated only three hours to Egypt and the joint appearance with Mubarak was confirmed only at the last minute. “You need more days, “ the Egyptian president was heard to say, pointedly, in English to his visitor. Yes, much, much more days.

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