Friday, February 4, 2011

China: Obama on Egypt crisis

People's Daily

article printed in its entirety

Obama says orderly transition in Egypt "must begin now"

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the orderly transition in Egypt "must begin now" following announcement by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that he will not seek reelection.

In his televised speech, Obama said he spoke directly to Mubarak after his announcement and the Egyptian president "recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place."

"What is clear, and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now," Obama said.

"Furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties," he added. "It should lead to elections that are free and fair."

Mubarak pledged on Tuesday in his speech to the nation that he would not seek another term following eight days of anti-government demonstrations demanding an end of his 30-year rule, which has plunged the most populous Arab nation into chaos.

Obama pledged that "we stand ready to provide assistance that is necessary to help the Egyptian people as they manage the aftermath of these protests."

The United States sees Egypt as a close ally and has offered some 1.5 billion dollars in annual military and economic aid in the past years.

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