Joe Biden says Mubarak isn't a dictator, questions legitimacy of protesters' demands

US vice-president Joe Biden told PBS NewsHour that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak (who as presided over a 29 year reign characterized by blatantly stolen elections, suspension of civil liberties, torture and arbitrary detention) isn't a dictator and questioned the legitimacy of protesters' demands. The USA provides $1.3 billion/year in military aid to the Mubarak regime.
Asked if he would characterize Mubarak as a dictator Biden responded: "Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he's been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with - with Israel. ... I would not refer to him as a dictator..."

Biden urged non-violence from both protesters and the government and said: "We're encouraging the protesters to - as they assemble, do it peacefully. And we're encouraging the government to act responsibly and - and to try to engage in a discussion as to what the legitimate claims being made are, if they are, and try to work them out." He also said: "I think that what we should continue to do is to encourage reasonable... accommodation and discussion to try to resolve peacefully and amicably the concerns and claims made by those who have taken to the street. And those that are legitimate should be responded to because the economic well-being and the stability of Egypt rests upon that middle class buying into the future of Egypt."

Joe Biden says Egypt's Mubarak no dictator, he shouldn't step down...

(Image: Hosni Mubarak - Official Photo, Wikimedia Commons)