Kerry says Mubarak needs to respond to his people

Obama says US will "continue to stand up for rights of Egyptian people"; Gibbs warns Egypt must address "legitimate grievances."

January 29, 2011 15:52
2 minute read.
John Kerry.

john kerry 311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


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US Sen. John Kerry said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak needs to respond to the concerns of his citizens and the issues they are having.

Speaking to The Associated Press Saturday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, the Massachusetts Democrat said that Mubarak needs to respond to his people more directly more than his speech Friday did.

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He said that dismissing the government does not speak to those challenges.

Mubarak announces dismissal of entire government
Military deployed on streets of Cairo as clashes continue
Cables show US reduced human rights pressure on Egypt

US President Barack Obama said Friday that he had personally told Egypt's  long-time leader to take "concrete steps" to expand rights inside the Arab nation and refrain from violence against protesters flooding through the streets of Cairo and elsewhere.

"Surely, there will be difficult days to come, but the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free and more hopeful," Obama said.

The conversation followed closely on a televised speech in which Mubarak, in Cairo, announced he was sacking his government to form a new one that would accelerate reforms. At the same time, he said, violence by protesters would not be tolerated.

Earlier, the White House said that the "legitimate grievances" of the Egyptian people must be addressed immediately by the Egyptian government and violence is not the right response.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that "we're monitoring a very fluid situation."

Gibbs said it was time for reform to come to Egypt. He reiterated calls for restraint and said that the Pentagon has been in direct contact with the Egyptian military to caution restraint.

The US is treading carefully amid the threat to a stalwart US ally in the Arab world considered a linchpin for American efforts to forge Middle East peace and tamp down Islamic extremism.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt

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