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EGYPT: Middle East nations respond to Mubarak's exit

February 11, 2011 | 11:16 am

Jordan After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation was announced Friday, Palestinians in Hamas-controlled Gaza spilled into the streets as horns were honked and guns were fired in celebration, CNN reported. Small Palestinian celebrations also began in the city center of Ramallah, the West Bank capital.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said many see Mubarak's resignation as an opportunity for those in Gaza.

"We call upon the new Egyptian leadership to take an immediate decision to lift the blockade of Gaza and open Rafah [border] crossing permanently to allow people's free movement and in order for the reconstruction process of Gaza to begin," Abu Zuhri told Reuters.

Israel's two major TV channels carried the announcement of Mubarak's resignation live, with images from Cairo's Tahrir Square supplemented by their political and Arab affairs commentators debating what the development means for Israel.

The headline on the website of Israel's largest newspaper, Yedioth Aronoth, read, "Mubarak Quits -- Masses Elated."

"It's too early to foresee how [the resignation] will affect things," a senior Israeli official told Reuters. "We hope that the change to democracy in Egypt will happen without violence and that the peace accord will remain."

In Lebanon, there was very little public reaction to Mubarak's resignation, according to CNN. Diners in small cafes watching Arab satellite coverage appeared happy, especially Hezbollah supporters, and some spoke nostalgically about the 2005 uprising in Lebanon, CNN reported.

The United Arab Emirates, which is ruled by a constitutional monarchy, released a statement Friday that said the country “confirms its confidence in the ability of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in running the country's affairs in these delicate circumstances in such a way that would realize aspirations and hopes of the Egyptian people.“

"The UAE confirms that it is always keen to foster brotherly, distinguished historic ties with Egypt in a way that serves the interests of the two brotherly countries and their peoples within the framework of the UAE's continuous support for Egypt and its people in all fields," the statement said.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq told Reuters Mubarak's ouster was inevitable.

"This is the destiny of anyone who stands against the will of his people," he said. "We hope that the Egyptian people ensure a smooth, peaceful and organized transfer of power in this critical time.”

In Qatar, the royal council of Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani issued a statement Friday in support of Mubarak's resignation. The emir has ruled Qatar since 1995.

"This is a positive, important step towards the Egyptian people's aspirations of achieving democracy and reform and a life of dignity," the statement said.

The Egyptian secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, told Al Arabiya television that he looks forward to working with the transition government formed through the "white revolution."

Asked if he was interested in being president, he told Reuters, "This is not the time to talk about that.... As an Egyptian citizen, I am proud to serve my country with all the others at this stage, to build a consensus of opinion."

--  Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: A Jordanian demonstrator shouts slogans as people gather for a protest against Hosni Mubarak outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman, Jordan, Friday. Credit: Khalil Mazraawi/Agence France Presse/Getty Images