News / USA

Obama: Violence Not The Answer In Egypt

President Barack Obama, 25 Jan 2011
President Barack Obama, 25 Jan 2011
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama and his top aides say both the Egyptian government and protesters in the streets of Cairo should reject violence.  The administration is balancing its support for President Hosni Mubarak’s government with calls for political reform.   

President Obama and several members of his administration are calling for nonviolence on both sides of Egypt’s anti-government protests.

As he took the public’s questions Thursday on the social media video website YouTube, Mr. Obama said Egyptians need to be given mechanisms to express legitimate grievances.

"You can see these pent-up frustrations that are being displayed on the streets," said President Obama. "My main hope right now is that violence is not the answer in solving these problems in Egypt, so the government has to be careful about not resorting to violence, and the people on the streets have to be careful about not resorting to violence."

Tens of thousands of protesters in Cairo and other Egyptian cities are demanding that President Mubarak step down after almost 30 years in power.

Like several previous U.S. presidents, Mr. Obama Thursday stressed Egypt’s importance as a partner in the Middle East peace process, but said the Mubarak government must reform.

"Egypt has been an ally of ours on a lot of critical issues," said Obama. "They make peace with Israel.  President Mubarak has been very helpful on a range of tough issues in the Middle East.  But I have always said to him that making sure that they are moving forward on reform, political reform, economic reform is absolutely critical to the long-term well-being of Egypt."

Several members of Mr. Obama’s administration made similar statements Thursday.

The president’s Deputy National Security Adviser, Denis McDonough, also told reporters political reform is needed in Cairo.

"Things like making sure that the emergency law is lifted, things like a new elections law, things like creating the kind of space for social and democratic speech and openness, so that we can see the kind of advancement that we hope for," said McDonough.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, visiting Canada’s capital, Ottawa, says the United States has been clear to governments in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia about the need for political reforms.

"Human and political rights of people are fundamental, and the economic challenges that face many of the people in the Middle East, as well as elsewhere, are important as well," said Gates.

And White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, briefing reporters, said he believed Mr. Mubarak’s government is stable, and said the U.S. will not choose sides in the dispute in Cairo.

But he said political reform in Egypt cannot wait.

"This represents an opportunity for President Mubarak and for the government of Egypt to demonstrate its willingness to listen to its own people," said Gibbs.

Tunisia’s president, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, was ousted in a popular uprising earlier this month, and demonstrators in Yemen have been demanding that their president resign.

Gibbs would not link the situations in the three Middle Eastern countries, and said each nation is at a different stage in its political development.  

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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