President Obama welcomed Saturday the announcement by Egypt's military that it would oversee a peaceful transition to a democratic system as the country faced a new day and uncertain future in the wake of the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak
In Cairo, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said it aspired "to guarantee the peaceful transfer of power within the framework of a free democratic system that allows an elected civilian power to rule the country, in order to build a free democratic state," the New York Times
reported. The statement said Egypt would continue to abide by international and regional treaties -- that would include the 1979 peace accord with Israel.
That was good news at the White House. Obama applauded word that the military "is committed to a democratic civilian transition, and will stand by Egypt's international obligations," the president's press office said.
Obama was in touch Saturday with world leaders to consult on the fast-changing situation in Egypt. He spoke by phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan "about the historic change that has been made by the Egyptian people."
Obama "stressed the U.S. commitment to provide the support that is necessary and requested by the Egyptian people to pursue a credible and orderly transition to democracy, including by working with international partners to provide financial support," the White House said.
In Egypt Saturday, opposition leaders praised the army for stepping in after 18 days of mass demonstrations convinced Mubarak to leave. But they also stood their ground and said many would return to Tahrir Square in Cairo next week to celebrate Mubarak's resignation after nearly three decades of authoritarian rule. Some vowed to continue their protest in the central square. The opposition said negotiations with the military had not yet begun on lifting the nation's emergency order and the release of political prisoners, the Times said.
In Washington, White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon criticized the decision by Iran not to permit an opposition protest
after its leaders hailed the uprising in Egypt. "We call on the government in Iran to allow the Iranian people the universal right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate and communicate that's being exercised in Cairo," Donilon said.