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Transcript: Obama Speaks on Egypt Protests, Violence

3 years ago
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Good evening, everybody. My administration has been closely monitoring the situation in Egypt, and I know that we will be learning more tomorrow when day breaks. As the situation continues to unfold, our first concern is preventing injury or loss of life. So I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protestors.

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.

I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions that they've taken to interfere with access to the Internet, to cell phone service and to social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st century.

At the same time, those protesting in the streets have a responsibility to express themselves peacefully. Violence and destruction will not lead to the reforms that they seek.

Now, going forward, this moment of volatility has to be turned into a moment of promise. The United States has a close partnership with Egypt and we've cooperated on many issues, including working together to advance a more peaceful region. But we've also been clear that there must be reform -- political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

In the absence of these reforms, grievances have built up over time. When President Mubarak addressed the Egyptian people tonight, he pledged a better democracy and greater economic opportunity. I just spoke to him after his speech and I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words, to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise.

Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptian people. And suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. What's needed right now are concrete steps that advance the rights of the Egyptian people: a meaningful dialogue between the government and its citizens, and a path of political change that leads to a future of greater freedom and greater opportunity and justice for the Egyptian people.

Now, ultimately the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. And I believe that the Egyptian people want the same things that we all want -- a better life for ourselves and our children, and a government that is fair and just and responsive. Put simply, the Egyptian people want a future that befits the heirs to a great and ancient civilization.

The United States always will be a partner in pursuit of that future. And we are committed to working with the Egyptian government and the Egyptian people -- all quarters -- to achieve it.

Around the world governments have an obligation to respond to their citizens. That's true here in the United States; that's true in Asia; it is true in Europe; it is true in Africa; and it's certainly true in the Arab world, where a new generation of citizens has the right to be heard.

When I was in Cairo, shortly after I was elected President, I said that all governments must maintain power through consent, not coercion. That is the single standard by which the people of Egypt will achieve the future they deserve.

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.

Thank you very much.

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7 Comments

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oldengineera2

I notice that he spoke of "the government and its citizens". I would rather be led by a President who explicitly recognizes that we are a people who grant powers to OUR government; we are not "its" people. We affirm that people are not the property or the subjects of our government, but free. To use a figure of speech of which the President is over fond: "those days are over".

January 30 2011 at 5:25 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Jamie Warren

Cutie@2:04pm Jan,30 2011.....your myopic view is astounding. Egypt controls the Suez Canal. That canal controls all the shipping from the Meditteranean sea through the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean. ALL oil transports travel that route, all military transports, travel that route. America uses 20 million gallons of oil a day, unless you want to buy a bike and shut off the heat in your home you should be interested in what is going on in the gulf. Britain and America fought for that canal and we might have to again.

I know this, but thnaks for the history lesson. I am interested in what is going on in the gulf. I was not trying to step on anybodys toes when I made my comment, but we should not have to get our oil or gas from these places we have our own resources to do this if our gov. would just ues it.

January 30 2011 at 4:12 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Phillip

if the same thing happen'd here do you think this gov. wouldn't shut down all the social networks

January 29 2011 at 2:18 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Mingo

He had better remember those words . That whole problem may happen in america. People here are going to see raising prices and a chance for no jobs

January 29 2011 at 9:44 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mingo's comment
dc walker

...........Americans use to be creative, if they couldn't find a job they created one. USAJOBS.GOV offer thousands of jobs all you need to do is fill out a resume.

January 30 2011 at 2:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
sloconnoisseur

THE TRUTH: The future is $5.00 / gal. gas. Get ready. Just remember where you read this first. Thank you to the youth of America. You will support an older generation for years to come. Hope and Change. Hope and Change. Give me Hope and Change.

January 29 2011 at 2:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jamie Warren

Ok why is it that our gov. has the need to get involed in other countries problems when we have enough of our own. For once I would like to see our gov. stand up for our rights and to start focusing on the welfare of this country.

January 28 2011 at 10:21 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jamie Warren's comment
dc walker

.....your myopic view is astounding. Egypt controls the Suez Canal. That canal controls all the shipping from the Meditteranean sea through the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean. ALL oil transports travel that route, all military transports, travel that route. America uses 20 million gallons of oil a day, unless you want to buy a bike and shut off the heat in your home you should be interested in what is going on in the gulf. Britain and America fought for that canal and we might have to again.

January 30 2011 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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