The Senate Thursday night approved a resolution that calls for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to hand over power to a caretaker government.
The resolution offered by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) also calls for elections and urges that Egypt’s military demonstrate “maximum professionalism and restraint” in working to restore order.
“We cannot afford that, and we must do everything in our power to see that it stops,” McCain said. “This is a seminal moment in the history of the Middle East and the world. We are seeing an uprising and a movement that spread across the entire Middle East.”
McCain called for Mubarak to give up power on Wednesday following a meeting at the White House with President Obama.
Protests in the streets of Cairo on Thursday were violent for a second day in a row as forces loyal to and against Mubarak’s government battled in the streets.
Kerry said all stakeholders in Egypt must respect human rights.
“We urge the parties involved to take every step possible to avoid violence and to respect the rights of the people in Egypt to assemble, to express their rights, to fight for and demonstrate for a transition in their lives and in their country,” Kerry said.
This is the first resolution to be offered by any senator on the crisis in Egypt. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) quickly joined as co-sponsors.
The Senate passed the resolution by unanimous consent Thursday night.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday there would be no more votes this week.
This post was updated at 8:07 p.m. to reflect the passage of the resolution in the Senate.