'Greater security.' Lieberman (L) and McCain in Cairo
Photo: AP
'Support revolutions.' Bibi
Photo: Gil Yohanan
US senators: Israel will be safer when ME turmoil over
In Egypt, McCain tells CNN Jewish state 'confident it can do business better with democracies than with dictatorships.' Lieberman: Netanyahu told us to back democratic revolutions in region

Israel will enjoy greater security under democratic regimes that may ultimately emerge from the recent instability and unrest roiling the Middle East, senior US lawmakers said on Sunday.


"In the short-term, they are obviously less secure because of the unpredictability here and the situation is unpredictable. But in the long-run, I think they are confident they can do business better with democracies than they can with dictatorships," US Senator John McCain told CNN in an interview beamed from Egypt.


The 2008 Republican presidential nominee is on a swing through the Middle East accompanied by Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman. They met with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among other leaders.


"There is unease because of the changes going on," Lieberman noted.


But he said Netanyahu had told them to support the democratic revolutions underway across the region, especially in Egypt, the most popular Arab nation.


"It is in our interest to support the successful transition to democracy in Egypt and throughout the Arab world, which the Egyptian people have won because we always have better, more steadfast relationships with fellow democrats in the world," Lieberman added.


The pair visited Cairo's Tahrir Square, epicenter of the peaceful revolution to overthrow president Hosni Mubarak after three decades of iron-fisted rule.


"I look forward to a bright future for the people of Egypt and better relations between Egypt and the United States," Lieberman said.


'Military doesn't want to run Egypt'

The veteran Democratic-leaning lawmaker added that Washington "should feel good about the assistance we have given the Egyptian military over the years since the peace deal" with Israel in 1979.


"The Egyptian military really allowed this revolution in Egypt to be peaceful and let the people carry out their desire for political freedom and economic opportunity," he continued.


"It's a strange moment here where the military was seen as credible by the people to lead the interim government."


In their meetings with senior military officials in Egypt, McCain and Lieberman "urged them to be inclusive, to meet with opposition figures, to be thoughtful about how and when they hold elections," the Connecticut independent said, stressing that "the Egyptian military doesn't want to run this country."


A wave of unrest sweeping the Middle East and North Africa was sparked by an uprising in Tunisia that ended Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23 years in power on January 14 and led to the downfall of Mubarak on February 11.


The latest domino at risk of toppling is Libya's President Muammar Gaddafi, whose four-decade autocratic regime is endangered by days of massive protests as chaos engulfs the oil-rich North African state.



First published: 02.27.11, 23:25
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