The New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON – As protesters in Egypt pressed forward with calls for the resignation of Hosni Mubarak this weekend, former Vice President Dick Cheney said that the longtime Egyptian leader had been a “good friend” to the United States who deserved to be treated well.
Mr. Cheney, speaking on Saturday at an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late President Ronald Reagan, stopped short of saying what he thought would or should happen in Egypt, saying that the Egyptian people would determine the outcome.
But Mr. Cheney said that from the standpoint of American interests, while democracy and freedom in other countries were to be celebrated, they were not the only important issues. On other fronts, he said, Mr. Mubarak had long helped the United States.
“He’s been a good man, he’s been a good friend and ally of the United States,” Mr. Cheney said. “We need to remember that.”
He recalled meeting with Mr. Mubarak in Alexandria in 1990, when Mr. Cheney was the secretary of defense in the administration of George H.W. Bush and helped lead diplomatic efforts to put together a coalition to oust Iraq from Kuwait after Saddam Hussein’s invasion.
At the time, Mr. Cheney said, Mr. Mubarak was among the first Arab leaders to publicly sign on to the effort, allowing the United States to use Egyptian air space and the Suez Canal to get troops to Saudi Arabia. Later, he added, Mr. Mubarak sent two divisions of the Egyptian army to fight alongside American troops in Kuwait.