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Ghonim Calls for End to Protests, Strikes to Bring Stability

Ghonim Calls for End to Protests, Strikes to Bring Stability
Google Inc. executive Wael Ghonim said he met military leaders over the weekend and he believes they are “really sincere” about bringing about the change demanded by the Egyptian people. Photographer: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. executive Wael Ghonim, whose social-media expertise helped trigger the anti-government protests that toppled Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, called for an end to protests and strikes to help rebuild the country’s economy.

“If you get paid 70 dollars, this is not the time to ask for 100 dollars,” Ghonim said in an interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday. “If you really care about this country, it is not about you anymore. This is about restoring you know, that stability. This is about sending signals to everyone that Egypt is becoming stable and we are working on that.”

Mubarak, Egypt’s autocratic ruler for 30 years, ceded power to the military on Feb. 11 as a popular revolt swept the Arab world’s most populous state. Since Sunday, Egypt has been governed by a military council that has promised to lead the country through a democratic transformation.

Ghonim, 30, who was released on Feb. 8 after being held by the government in secret detention for more than a week, said he met military leaders over the weekend and he believes they are “really sincere” about bringing about the change demanded by the Egyptian people.

“They realize the value of business and creating jobs,” the activist said. “We had a half an hour discussion about the challenges of how to get people back to work and how to create jobs. They are aware of the problems.”

Egypt’s tech-savvy youth, who used the internet and sites such as Facebook and Twitter to organize their protests, could help make Egypt the Silicon Valley of the Middle East, he said.

“We are looking at the scene and we are impressed. The high tech community, especially the high tech industry, is one of those industries that can take Egypt to the next step. We can be another India when it comes to high tech,” he added.

To contact the reporters on this story: Margaret Brennan in New York at mbrennan25@bloomberg.net; Zainab Fattah in Dubai at zfattah@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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