Obama Tells Mubarak: 'There Must Be Reform'

President speaks to Egyptian leader
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2011 5:50 PM CST
President Obama pauses before addressing the Families USA 16th Annual Health Action Conference in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – President Obama spoke to Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak today for the first time since the protests broke out, warning him that his promises of reform must be more than mere words. “He has a responsibility to give meaning" to them, Obama said. "There must be reform." The president, who spoke to Mubarak minutes after the Egyptian leader broke his own official silence, also urged Egypt to use restraint with demonstrators and to reopen the nation's Internet connections, reports AP.

"I want to be very clear in calling on the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters," Obama said. "The people of Egypt have rights that are universal," including free speech. "These are human rights, and the United States will stand up for them everywhere." He also told protesters they have a "responsibility to express themselves peacefully," notes the Washington Post. Earlier, Robert Gibbs warned that the US would review its aid to Egypt based on the nation's response to the unrest.

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