Obama: Timing of Mubarak exit not up to United States

McClatchy NewspapersFebruary 4, 2011 

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Friday that it’s up to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his people, not the United States, to decide how quickly to transition the embattled leader out of power between now and a planned September election and that “my understanding is that some discussions have begun.”

Obama said he is “crystal clear that we oppose violence as a response to this crisis” but that he was “encouraged by the restraint that was shown today” following days toward anti-Mubarak protesters the day before.

He also said he has warned Mubarak that “going back to the old ways is not going to work” and urged him to “leave a legacy behind in which Egpyt is able to get through this transformative period.”

The president made his remarks at a joint press availability at the White House with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, following a meeting between the two leaders.

Obama said he had told Mubarak, with whom he has spoken twice since the protests broke out Jan. 25, “Suppression’s not going to work. Engaging in violence is not going to work. Attempting to shut down information flows is not going to work.”

But Obama struck a respectful tone, saying Mubarak “is proud but he’s also a patriot” and that “I believe that President Mubarak cares about his country.”

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