Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner sat down with HuffPost Live's Ahmed Shihab-Eldin to share his thoughts on the news that an Egyptian court ordered former president Hosni Mubarak to be released from prison Wednesday.
"I think we should look at [Mubarak's release] as good news," said Wisner. "I would like to think it would be the predecessor to a greater sense of reconciliation. Egyptians need at this point -- particularly as the situation on the street begins to take some shape and settle down -- to come together. The country is faced with huge problems, problems of an economic and a political nature. Egypt has just got to be able to do that with a consensus. That won't come easily, but this might be just one of those steps and let's all hope for it."
Wisner served as as the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt under Presidents Reagan and Bush and then as the Special Envoy to Egypt under President Obama. During his trip to Cairo as Special Envoy in 2011, Wisner proposed that Mubarak stay in office throughout the transition of power. He was later criticized for his stance, as the U.S. government distanced itself in an official capacity from his viewpoint.
Wisner spoke to the legacy of Mubarak and his role in U.S. foreign policy over the years, telling Shihab-Eldin: "In essence, it's good news for many Americans. Hosni Mubarak was a friend of the United States for many years, an important friend in the region. We did a great deal with him. He stood by us in some difficult times, so at a personal level if he is released that's not bad news."
For more on this discussion, watch the full segment HERE.
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Captions by the Associated Press