Obama calls for restraint, reforms in Egypt

Last Updated: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 18:21

Washington: Amid anti-regime riots in Egypt
that have claimed over 100 lives, US President Barack Obama
has sought restraint and favoured "concrete steps" aimed at
advancing political reforms in the Arab nation, as he held key
talks with his national security team to assess the situation
there.

"He reiterated our focus on opposing violence and calling
for restraint; supporting universal rights; and supporting
concrete steps that advance political reform within Egypt,"
the White House said in a statement last evening after the
meeting.

The US President was updated on the current situation
in Egypt during the meeting with his national security aides
that lasted for about an hour.

Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser
Tom Donilon and his deputy Denis McDonough, Assistant to the
President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism John
Brennan, the Vice President`s National Security Adviser Tony
Blinken and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic
Communications Ben Rhodes were present at the meeting.

Senior Director for the Central Region Dennis Ross,
Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa Dan
Shapiro, Chief of Staff Bill Daley, outgoing White House Press
Secretary Robert Gibbs and Senior Adviser David Plouffe also
attended the meeting.

Earlier, Obama, who spoke to Mubarak for 30 minutes on
Friday, had called on the Egyptian authorities to refrain from
any violence against peaceful protesters.

"The people of Egypt have rights that are universal.
That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association,
the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their
own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States
will stand up for them everywhere," he had said in a
statement.

Obama had also urged the Egyptian government to restore
services of Internet and cellphones, which were suspended
following the protests.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 18:21

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