Obama warns embattled ally: Don’t use violence

President Barack Obama put Egypt’s embattled leader,Hosni Mubarak,on notice that he should not use his soldiers.

Written by New York Times | Washington | Published: January 30, 2011 12:18:37 am

President Barack Obama on Friday put Egypt’s embattled leader,Hosni Mubarak,on notice that he should not use his soldiers and the police in a bloody crackdown on the protests in Egypt,edging away from a close American ally whose cities have erupted in protest.

Addressing the nation from the White House after a day of rage in Egypt,Obama said he called Mubarak and told him “to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters” and to turn a “moment of volatility” into a “moment of promise.” Declaring that the protesters have universal rights,he said,“The United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people.”

Obama’s remarks came as a blunt reply to Mubarak,who spoke to his own people just one hour before and mixed conciliation with defiance as he dismissed his government but vowed to stay in office to stabilise Egypt.

Faced with images of riot police officers using tear gas and water cannons against protesters,the Obama administration has moved from tentative support to distancing itself from Mubarak,its staunchest Arab ally,saying it would review $1.5 billion in American aid and warning him that he must confront the grievances of his people.

Obama noted Mubarak promised to expand democracy. “He has a responsibility to give meaning to those words,” Obama said. He called on Mubarak to open a dialogue with the demonstrators,though he did not go as far as to urge free and fair elections.

The announcement that the administration would review its aid was the first tangible sign that the US was keeping Mubarak at arm’s length. The White House spokesman,Robert Gibbs said that the American “assistance posture” would depend on events “now,and in the coming days.”Mark Landler

For all the latest News Archive News, download Indian Express App