President Barack Obama called in a televised address Tuesday night for an “orderly transition” in Egypt to “begin now,” signaling the administration’s acceptance that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s days are numbered.
The president’s call for immediate change may have been a challenge to Mubarak, who announced in a speech several hours earlier that he would not seek another term in office, but would remain as president until the election in September.
Obama commended the Egyptian military for its restraint in dealing with protesters, and in an apparent dig at Egypt’s attempts to shut down Internet and wireless communications, the president said the US stood for “universal values” such as “freedom of assembly, freedom of speech [and] freedom of information.”
The transition to a new government “must be meaningful, must be peaceful and it must begin now,” Obama said.
The president added he wanted to see a new Egyptian government that reflects “a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties” and that leads the country to free and fair elections.
The US will continue to extend a hand of “friendship and partnership” to Egypt, the president said, and assured the Egyptian people that in America, “we hear your voices.”
This video is from Reuters, published Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011.