News / Middle East

Obama Continues to Monitor Tense Egypt Situation

President Barack Obama studies a document held by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper during the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, February 3, 2011.
President Barack Obama studies a document held by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper during the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, February 3, 2011.

President Obama returned to the White House after a brief trip to Pennsylvania on Thursday, and has been holding more consultations advisers on the situation in Egypt.  The United States pressed harder on the Egyptian government and military to stop a wave of violence.

The president moved quickly past members of the press corps without comment, and into the Oval Office where over the past few days of the Egyptian crisis he has met with advisers and spoken twice by telephone with President Hosni Mubarak.

In an interview with ABC's Christiane Amanpour, Mr. Mubarak referred to those conversations and said, according to excerpts, while he is a "very good man" Mr. Obama didn't understand the culture of Egypt.

In the same interview, Mr. Mubarak said he was "very unhappy" with violence in Egypt, which he blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, but said he could not step down and risk the chaos he says would ensue.

President Obama's only public remark on Egypt came much earlier in the day, in a speech to the National Prayer Breakfast.

"We are also mindful of the violence we are now seeing in the Middle East and we pray that the violence in Egypt will end and that the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realized and a better day will dawn over Egypt and throughout the world," he said.

There were no indications President Obama would make any additional remarks on Egypt, as the United States stepped up pressure on the government in Cairo to prevent additional violence.

A White House statement said Vice President Joe Biden spoke by telephone with Egypt's Vice President, Omar Suleiman, to reiterate President Obama's condemnation of recent violence. Mr. Biden also called for restraint by all sides and urged that credible, inclusive negotiations begin immediately for a transition to a democratic government.

Vice President Suleiman told ABC on Thursday that the government would never authorize the use of force against the Egyptian people, saying they had legitimate grievances, which he and President Mubarak asserted the government had met.

Earlier, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued a strong condemnation of violence in Egypt, and called systematic targeting of journalists completely and totally unacceptable.

The veteran U.S. diplomat, retired Ambassador Frank Wisner, returned to Washington early on Thursday from Cairo where he conveyed key messages from the U.S. government to President Mubarak and other officials.   

The State Department said Wisner had briefed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but it was unclear whether he would also brief the president.

Secretary Clinton said the U.S condemns attacks on journalists, saying the Egyptian government and army have a clear responsibility to protect those threatened and hold accountable those responsible for attacks on the media.   

She also urged the beginning of serious negotiations between the Egyptian government and a broad and credible representation of Egypt's opposition, civil society and political factions.

The White House provided details late Thursday of a conversation President Obama had with President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, where largely peaceful demonstrations occurred between pro and anti-government factions.

According to the statement, Mr. Obama welcomed "significant reform measures" and stressed the need for President Saleh "to follow-up his pledge with concrete actions." Mr. Obama also said Yemeni security forces should show restraint and refrain from violence against demonstrators.  

President Obama also used the call to tell President Saleh it is "imperative" that Yemen take forceful action against Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and expressed concern over the release of Abd-Ilah al-Shai, who had been sentenced to five years in prison for his association with AQAP.

You May Like

Photogallery Ukraine: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid