January 30, 2011 / 2:30 PM / 7 years ago

Arab League head wants Egypt multi-party democracy

LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League, said on Sunday he wanted to see a multi-party democracy emerge in Egypt but could not say how soon that might happen.

Speaking to BBC radio, the former Egyptian foreign minister also said that President Hosni Mubarak needed to respond to mass protests demanding reform, rather than reshuffling ministers.

"This new government should be just the beginning, just a new prime minister and new ministers does not necessarily mean a change, clear lines of policy will have to be declared," he told the BBC's The World This Weekend programme.

Asked if he thought Mubarak might quit, Moussa said:

"I don't think he is that type," but he added that he thought Mubarak was listening carefully to calls for reform.

Moussa said he did not see himself as a president of Egypt.

"I am not a candidate (for president), the constitution does not allow me to run. "

However, he did not rule out playing a role if Egypt did move towards a multi-party system.

"I hope that we would reach that point (of) a multi-party system and that democracy is in full train, it offers different opportunities, creates different opportunities."

"I hope it will be sooner than we think." Moussa said Arab countries had to respond to the calls for change which started in Tunisia and had swept across the region.

"The Arab world now is on the path of change. This is the motto now, reform, change, modernisation," he said.

"All of us should be concerned that the situation in our societies is indeed very shaky and full of complaints and uncomfortable feelings." (Reporting by Keith Weir, Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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