News / Middle East

Obama: Egypt Transition Should Begin Now

President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper take part in a joint news conference after their meeting at the White House in Washington, Friday, February 4, 2011
President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper take part in a joint news conference after their meeting at the White House in Washington, Friday, February 4, 2011
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama is calling on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin the process of handing over power. He did not press Mubarak, however, to leave office now.

President Obama said the world is watching the events in Egypt, and a moment of turmoil should be turned into a moment of opportunity.

The president held a brief news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper after their meetings Friday at the White House. It was the first time since the Egyptian crisis began last week that he faced questions from reporters.

The president said he has talked with Mubarak twice this week. He said he has encouraged the Egyptian leader to put his country’s best interests first and leave office in an orderly, peaceful and democratic way.

Watch Carolyn Presutti's Companion TV Report

"The key question he should be asking himself is, "How do I leave a legacy behind in which Egypt is able to get through this transformative period?" and my hope is that he will end up making the right decision," Obama said.

White House officials have been talking with top Egyptian officials about forming a temporary government which could prepare the country for new elections.

The president stressed Friday, as he has in previous statements, that the solution to Egypt’s political uncertainty is up to Egyptians.

Obama also repeated the administration’s view that the situation must be resolved peacefully. He said attacks on journalists, human rights activists and peaceful protesters are unacceptable, but did not blame the Egyptian government for the violence.

"The issues at stake in Egypt will not be resolved through violence or suppression, and we are encouraged by the restraint that was shown Friday," said Obama. "We hope that it continues."

Canada’s Prime Minister Harper also spoke to reporters about the situation in Cairo. He agreed that change is inevitable. "I do not think there is any doubt from anyone who is watching this situation that transition is occurring and will occur in Egypt. The question is what kind of transition this will be and how it will lead. It is ultimately up to the Egyptian people to decide who will govern them," he said.

Mubarak, who is 82 years old, has been in power for almost 30 years. Conflicts in Cairo between Mubarak supporters and protesters demanding his ouster have resulted in hundreds of injuries and several deaths.

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

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence 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.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


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