Washington: US President Barack Obama
on Wednesday expressed concern about the stability in the Middle East
as people across the region, emboldened by success in Tunisia
and Egypt, are coming out on streets and demanding more from
Noting that every country of the region has different
solution, Obama however cautioned the governments of the
region not to use force against peaceful protestors.
"Ultimately, these are sovereign countries that are
going to have to make their own decisions. What we can do is
lend moral support to those who are seeking a better life for
themselves," Obama said at a White House news conference.
"Obviously, we`re concerned about stability throughout
the region. Each country is different," he asserted.
"The message that we`ve sent even before the
demonstrations in Egypt has been, to friend and foe alike,
that the world is changing; that you have a young, vibrant
generation in the Middle East that is looking for greater
opportunity, and that if you are governing these countries
you`ve got to get out ahead of change, you can`t be behind the
curve," Obama said.
"The thing that will actually achieve stability in
that region is if young people, if ordinary folks end up
feeling that there are pathways for them to feed their
families, get a decent job, get an education, aspire to a
better life," he said.
"The more steps these governments are taking to
provide these avenues for mobility and opportunity, the more
stable these countries are," Obama said, adding that one can?t
maintain power through coercion.
"At some level in any society, there has to be
consent. That`s particularly true in this new era where people
can communicate not just through some centralized government
or state-run TV, but they can get on a smart phone or a
Twitter account and mobilize hundreds of thousands of people,"
"My belief is that, as a consequence of what`s
happening in Tunisia and Egypt, governments in that region are
starting to understand this. And my hope is that they can
operate in a way that is responsive to this hunger for change
but always do so in a way that doesn`t lead to violence,"
‘More needs to be done in Egypt’
Expressing satisfaction over
the recent developments in Egypt, US President Barack Obama
today said that a lot more needs to be done to restore real
democracy in the Arab country where popular uprising toppled
long time President Hosni Mubarak.
"Obviously there`s still a lot of work to be done in
Egypt itself, but what we`ve seen so far is positive," Obama
said at a White House news conference.
"The military council that is in charge has reaffirmed
its treaties with countries like Israel and international
treaties. It has met with the opposition, and the opposition
has felt that it is serious about moving towards fair and free
elections," he said.
"Egypt`s going to require help in building democratic
institutions and also in strengthening an economy that`s taken
a hit as a consequence of what happened, but so far, at least,
we`re seeing the right signals coming out of Egypt," he said.
Acknowledging that there are ramifications throughout
the region, Obama said: "I think my administration`s approach
is the approach that jibes with how most Americans think about
this region, which is that each country is different, each
country has its own traditions, America can`t dictate how they
run their societies."
He said: "There there`s certain universal principles
that we adhere to. One of them is, we don`t believe in
violence as a way of and coercion as a way of maintaining
control, and so we think it`s very important that in all the
protests that we`re seeing throughout the region, that
governments respond to peaceful protesters peacefully."
The second principle that the US believes in strongly
is in the right to express ones opinions and the freedom of
speech and freedom of assembly that allows people to share
their grievances with the government and to express themselves
in ways that, hopefully, will over time meet their needs.
Without revisiting all the events over the last three
weeks, Obama said he thinks history will end up recording that
at every juncture in the situation in Egypt, that the US was
on the right side of history.
"What we didn`t do was pretend that we could dictate
the outcome in Egypt, because we can`t," he said.
"I started talking about reform two weeks or two and a
half weeks before Mubarak ultimately stepped down. And at each
juncture, I think we calibrated it just about right. We ended
up seeing was a peaceful transition, relatively little
violence, and relatively little if any anti-American sentiment
or anti-Israel sentiment or anti-Western sentiment. That
testifies to the fact that, in a complicated situation, we got
it about right," Obama said.
"My message to demonstrators going forward is your
aspirations for greater opportunity, for the ability to speak
your mind, for a free press, those are absolutely aspirations
we support. As was true in Egypt ultimately what happens in
each of these countries will be determined by the citizens of
those countries," said the US President.