News / Middle East

Obama Delivers Stronger Message on Egypt

Egyptian lawyers in black robes stream into Cairo's Tahrir Square, February 10, 2011
Egyptian lawyers in black robes stream into Cairo's Tahrir Square, February 10, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

President Obama is urging the Egyptian government to spell out in unambiguous terms the process it is pursuing leading to a credible and genuine democracy. The White House delivered a new and stronger message as Mr. Obama and his advisers cope with developments after President Hosni Mubarak declined to step down.

The president and his administration began Thursday with some optimism amid indications apparently received from Egyptian officials in Cairo that President Mubarak would announce he was stepping down, meeting the demands of tens of thousands of protesters.

In remarks in the state of Michigan, Mr. Obama pointed to a "moment of transformation" that he said was being driven by a new generation of Egyptians, saying that going forward the U.S. will continue to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy.

"They have turned out in extraordinary numbers, representing all ages and all walks of life, but it is young people who have been at the forefront, a new generation, your generation, who want their voices to be heard," said Obama.

After watching Mr. Mubarak's speech on Air Force One returning to Washington, President Obama arrived back at the White House and immediately went into a meeting with his national security team.

The optimism in Mr. Obama's earlier statement was transformed later into much stronger tone after the Mubarak speech.  The Egyptian government, said Mr. Obama, had not seized the opportunity to put forward a "credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy."

Saying too many Egyptians remain "unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy", the president urged Egyptian leaders to speak clearly to their people and the world."

On Thursday, President Mubarak spoke of support for constitutional changes and a road map leading to fair elections in September, but refused to step down, while delegating certain powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Egypt's Ambassador to the United States, Sameh Shoukry, told U.S. television networks Mr. Mubarak had transferred all executive powers to Mr. Suleiman who was de facto president with all authority of the presidency under the Constitution.

The ambassador said three key powers -  power to dissolve parliament, to fire the Cabinet, or make amendments to the Constitution - were now also not in Mr. Mubarak's hands.  

In remarks to CNN on Thursday, the Egyptian reform leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, described the Mubarak speech as "an act of deception on a grand scale" adding that the Egyptian people would accept neither Mr. Mubarak nor Mr. Suleiman.

Again on Thursday President Obama did not specifically call for President Mubarak to step down reapeating the U.S. position that only the Egyptian people can determine their political future.

Repeating his call for restraint by all parties, Mr. Obama said the U.S. supports "core principles" and "universal rights" of Egypt's people on the way to "irreversible political change" and meaningful political negotiations involving Egypt's broad opposition and civil society.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid