Former vice president Dick Cheney late Saturday praised beleaguered Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as a "good friend" to the United States, and called for an evenhanded US response to continuing unrest in Egypt.
"I think President Mubarak needs to be treated as he's deserved over the years, because he has been a good friend, not only to the United States but a lot of other folks that we do business with," Cheney said a gathering in Santa Barbara, California to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of late US president Ronald Reagan.
"He's been a good friend and ally of the United States and we need to remember that," Cheney said.
Despite those words of support, on the issue of whether Mubarak can or should hold on to power, the former vice president added: "There comes a time for everyone to hang it up and move on."
"That's a decision only the Egyptians can make," Cheney said.
He made his remarks as US President Barack Obama stepped up a diplomatic effort for a quick transition of power in Cairo.
Obama underscored the need for "an orderly, peaceful transition, beginning now," the White House said in a statement on Saturday as a 12-day protest for an end to Mubarak's 30-year-rule showed no sign of abating.
Some 300 people have been killed since anti-Mubarak demonstrations erupted on January 25.
© AFP 2013