News / Middle East

Obama, Pentagon Praise Egypt’s Military Rulers

US President Barack Obama during a news conference at the White House, February 15, 2011
US President Barack Obama during a news conference at the White House, February 15, 2011
Al Pessin

President Barack Obama has praised Egypt’s new ruling military council, and the Pentagon says the Egyptian military continues to play a positive role in the country’s transition.

At a White House news conference, President Obama offered a concise assessment of the military council that took power in Cairo on Friday.

“There is still a lot of work to be done in Egypt itself, but what we have seen so far is positive,” said Mr. Obama.

The president said the council has reaffirmed Egypt’s commitments to Israel and the international community, and that opposition leaders believe the council is serious about democratic reforms. But Mr. Obama said the country will need help in building democratic institutions, after decades of severe limitations, and also in rebuilding its economy, which is based largely on tourism devastated by the three weeks of street protests.

President Obama also defended his handling of the Egypt crisis, saying he knew the United States could not determine the outcome but that he was “on the right side of history” in supporting the demonstrators’ calls for more freedom and democracy - aspirations he said he supports throughout the region and the world.

“We sent out a very clear message that we believed in an orderly transition, a meaningful transition, and a transition that needed to happen not later, but sooner. And we were consistent on that message throughout,” he added.

The president came under some criticism for not supporting now-former-President Hosni Mubarak, a longtime U.S. ally. Mr. Obama acknowledged he is concerned about stability in Egypt, and elsewhere in the region where protesters are demonstrating. But he said he believes that in the long term, reforms and what he called “messy” democracy will lead to less radicalism and better outcomes on Middle East peace talks and other issues.

He says so far his view has been borne out in Egypt.

“Part of the test is that what we ended up seeing was a peaceful transition, relatively little violence and relatively little, if any, anti-American sentiment,” said Mr. Obama.

The president also noted there was little anti-Israel or general anti-Western sentiment in the protests.

At the Pentagon, spokesman Colonel David Lapan said U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates still believes the Egyptian military is playing a constructive role, even though its takeover happened outside the country’s constitutional process.

“It is the fact that this has been done with relatively little violence, that the military continues to play a stabilizing influence on the situation there,” Lapan said. “So, it is in that context.”

Lapan said Gates spoke to the Egyptian military council chairman, Field Marshal Mohammed Tantawi, on Saturday, the day after he took power. It was their sixth reported conversation since the crisis began, but the Pentagon has not provided any details. Secretary Gates has not commented on Egypt since before the power change, although he was asked about it three times during a news conference Monday.

 

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

You May Like

Photogallery Pope Condemns IS 'Persecution' of Minorities

Pope delivers annual 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and the world) blessing, appeals for end to conflicts in Africa, dialogue in Middle East, condemns Taliban attack in Pakistan More

China Reduces Number of Crimes Punishable by Death

Earlier this year China announced plans to remove nine crimes from the list of capital offenses, including counterfeiting, fraudulent fund-raising and forcing others into prostitution More

Analysis: For N. Koreans, Parody Has Grave Tone

Most North Koreans who might see 'The Interview' would be horribly offended, outraged, and confused 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.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid