News / Middle East

Obama: Egypt Will Never Be The Same

President Barack Obama makes a statement on the resignation of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in the Grand Foyer at the White House in Washington, February 11, 2011
President Barack Obama makes a statement on the resignation of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in the Grand Foyer at the White House in Washington, February 11, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama said the people of Egypt have inspired the American people through their peaceful 18-day campaign for democracy. Obama said Friday that "today" belongs to Egypt’s people, after the resignation of their longtime president, Hosni Mubarak.

The president said the entire world has taken note of the history taking place in Cairo. "The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same."

Obama said a new generation has emerged, and a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership in the Middle East and around the world.

"By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people’s hunger for change," said Obama. "But this is not the end of Egypt’s transition, it is a beginning."

The president acknowledged that there will be difficult days ahead as Egypt works toward democracy, but he said the United States will give whatever assistance is necessary.

Obama called on Egypt’s new military leaders to ensure a credible transition, ensure universal rights, lift the country’s emergency law and lay out a clear path to fair and free elections.

He also praised the Egyptian military and the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators for refraining from using violence.

"For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence,not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force, that bent the arc of history toward justice once more," said Obama.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama was informed of Mubarak’s decision to step down during a meeting in the Oval Office. He then watched TV coverage of the scene in Cairo for several minutes.

Gibbs said Obama and Mubarak did not speak before the announcement.

President Obama met with his national security advisers before he spoke.

Before the president’s speech, Egyptian reformist leader Mohamed El-Baradei told CNN he wanted to hear Obama say the U.S. will never support an authoritarian system in Egypt under any circumstances.  

Earlier in the day, Vice President Joe Biden said the toppling of Mubarak is part of a phenomenon that extends beyond Egypt. "All of this began when a fruit vendor in Tunisia, fed up with an indignity of a corrupt government and a stagnant economy literally set himself on fire, and in doing so ignited the passions of millions and millions of people throughout that region."

The top Democrat in the House of Representatives, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, said on the social network Twitter that young people are leading Egypt toward democracy. She called their actions "an inspiration to the world."

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a written statement calling for a calm and orderly transition to democracy to begin in Egypt. She also urged the rejection of any involvement by the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups she called "extremists."

The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman, said Mubarak’s departure is not yet a victory for democracy. But a statement from Berman said it inspires great hope that true Egyptian democracy, once unimaginable, is on the horizon.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs