In his first address on the political unrest in Egypt, President Barack Obama called on the Egyptian government to refrain from committing violence against peaceful protesters.
“The people of Egypt have rights that are universal,” Obama said.
The US president stated that President Hosni Mubarak should restore the protesters’ rights to assemble, speak, and self-determination. He also called for the Egyptian government to return access to the Internet and other telecommunications to the people.
“These are human rights and the United States will stand for them everywhere,” Obama said.
Obama, who said that his administration had been closely monitoring the situation in Egypt, maintained that the protesters should also act peacefully.
“Violence and destruction will not lead to the reforms they seek,” he said.
Obama explained that he spoke with President Mubarak soon after the long-time leader gave his first televised statement in Egypt. Obama said that Mubarak should live up to his promise of social reforms.
“I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words,” Obama said, adding that Egyptians need concrete steps to see those reforms happen.
Obama also call for a “meaningful dialogue” between the Egyptian government and its citizens, and vowed to remain a partner of “all quarters” of Egypt in its development.
President Mubarak said not an hour earlier that he would dissolve his Cabinet and install a new government Saturday. He defended his decision to deploy troops to back police against the protesters, though he expressed regret that there were “innocent casualties and victims.”
“[O]ur plans to combat unemployment and provide more educational services, healthcare and housing, will remain conditional on our efforts to maintain Egypt’s security,” Mubarak said.
This video is from FoxNews, broadcast Jan. 28, 2011, snipped via Mediaite.