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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs