Obama: Egypt's Transition 'Must Begin Now'

He praises young demonstrators, along with the military
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2011 6:29 PM CST
In a Sept. 1, 2010, file photo, President Obama meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Oval Office.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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(Newser) – President Obama said he spoke to Hosni Mubarak again today and told him that Egypt's transition to new leadership "must begin now." In his own speech, Obama didn't explicitly call for Mubarak to step down earlier than September, though the Washington Post quotes insiders as saying the administration wasn't thrilled with Mubarak's pledge to remain in power until the fall, even though he won't seek re-election. Protesters didn't like it, either.

"He recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that change must take place," said Obama. He said he told Mubarak of "my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now." Obama also called for opposition figures to be involved in the process. He praised the nation's young demonstrators for providing "inspiration" to the world and lauded Egypt's military for its restraint. (Read more Egypt protests stories.)

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