Former President Jimmy Carter said Sunday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will likely be forced to step down because "the people have decided," according to a news report.
“This is the most profound situation in the Middle East since I left office,” Carter said Sunday at a Baptist church in his hometown of Plains, Ga., where he teaches a Sunday school class, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.
"The United States wants Mubarak to stay in power, but the people have decided," he said.
The Obama administration has been walking a fine line between supporting the anti-Mubarak protesters and backing a key ally in the Middle East. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday called for an "orderly transition" but did not call for Mubarak to step down.
Carter said Mubarak has “become more politically corrupt” during his 30 years in power, the Ledger-Inquirer reported.
“He has perpetuated himself in office,” Carter said.
Carter said his “guess is Mubarak will have to leave.”
Clinton is convening what officials are calling an unprecedented meeting of hundreds of U.S. ambassadors at the State Department beginning on Monday, as the protests in Egypt continue and the political landscape of the Middle East is being reshaped.
The opposition, including secularists and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood alike, seems to be coalescing around Mohamed ElBaradei, the former Nobel laureate and head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who joined protesters Sunday to demand Mubarak's resignation and a "new era."
The opposition has called for a massive demonstration — more than a million strong — for Tuesday.
This post was updated at 8:30 a.m.