U.S. urges Egypt to halt crackdown, begin reforms

McClatchy NewspapersJanuary 28, 2011 

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Egypt's government Friday to halt the use of violence against protesters, end "unprecedented" curbs on communication and begin implementing political and economic reforms.

Clinton's remarks represented an incremental toughening of the Obama administration's stance in Egypt's unfolding political crisis, but they fell short of a complete U.S. break with President Hosni Mubarak.

"We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters," Clinton said at the State Department, adding that the protesters also should avoid violence.

"We urge the Egyptian government to allow peaceful protests, and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications," she said. Internet service in Egypt has been blocked almost completely, according to reports from the country.

Describing the United States as "a partner" with Egypt, Clinton urged Mubarak's government "to engage immediately" with the Egyptian people on economic, political and social reforms.

Since protests began Tuesday, Egypt's government has ignored U.S. calls for restraint and dialogue. It has imposed curfews, sent the army into the streets and reportedly placed opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei under house arrest.

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