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Entries in President Mubarak (3)

Saturday
Jan292011

Egyptian Government Resigns As Protests Continue

Photo Courtesy - Getty ImagesUPDATE: Egyptian state television is reporting that President Hosni Mubarak has appointed intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to serve as the country’s vice president. Dr. Ahmed Shafiq, former minister of aviation and the ex-leader of Egypt's Air Force, has reportedly been appointed prime minister.

(CAIRO) -- As thousands of protesters continued to take to the streets of Cairo on Saturday, it was announced that the Egyptian government has formally resigned.

In a televised address on Friday, President Hosni Mubarak said he had asked his government to resign, however, there was no indication that Mubarak himself would be stepping down. There are also reports that Rachid Mohamed Rachid – who has been serving as minister of investment – will be named as the new prime minister. Mubarak’s Friday address was his first since protests began on Tuesday, with demonstrators calling for the embattled president to resign.

"These demonstrations shouldn't have happened, because of the big gaps in freedom that were given," Mubarak said, according to a rough translation of his address to the nation. "As the president of this country and with all the power that the Constitution has given me, I assure you that I'm working for the people and giving freedoms of opinions, as long as we are respecting the law."

Mubarak took to the camera after a tough crackdown by government forces that prompted the Obama administration to reconsider the $1.5 billion in aid it gives to Egypt.

On Friday, President Obama said he spoke with Mubarak and urged the Egyptian government to respect and embrace human rights and political and economic reform. President Obama said his administration’s first concern was “preventing injury and loss of life.” He called upon Egyptian authorities to "refrain from any violence” against peaceful protesters, arguing that Egyptians have the universal rights to assembly and speech, rights the United States “will stand up for everywhere.” The president also called upon the Egyptian government to “reverse the actions” taken that interfere with internet and cell phone communication.

On Saturday cell phone service had been restored in Cairo, however, internet service was not available. Tahrir Square continued to be the main demonstration area, with large amounts of protesters clashing with security forces. Dozens of deaths have been reported since the unrest began, with the death toll increasing by the day. Properties around the city have also been damaged during demonstrations, including the headquarters of the governing National Democratic Party, which protesters set on fire on Friday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

President Mubarak Tells Defiant Egyptians Government Will Resign  

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAIRO) -- As defiant Egyptian protesters laid siege to government buildings and took to the streets to protest against the government, President Hosni Mubarak announced he has asked his government to resign.

The embattled president, who has run Egypt for the last 30 years, spoke for the first time since mass demonstrations broke out on Tuesday. Although many of the demonstrators demanded he step down, the 82-year-old president gave no indication that he will relinquish his post.

"These demonstrations shouldn't have happened, because of the big gaps in freedom that were given," Mubarak said, according to a rough translation of his address to the nation. "As the president of this country and with all the power that the Constitution has given me, I assure you that I'm working for the people and giving freedoms of opinions, as long as we are respecting the law."

Mubarak appealed for calm, saying there's a "fine line between freedom and chaos."

"I am on the side of freedom of the people, but also of the security of Egypt. And I will not let anything happen that threatens the security of the country," he said.

Mubarak took to the camera after a tough crackdown by government forces that prompted the Obama administration to reconsider the $1.5 billion in aid it gives to Egypt.

But his speech is unlikely to appease the massive crowds, angry and frustrated at the country's dire economic situation, high food prices, rising unemployment and decades of corruption and poverty.

The U.S. made clear its disapproval of its ally's use of force to break up the massive protests, but administration officials refused to directly implicate President Hosni Mubarak, whose ouster is the focal point of this week's protests.

President Obama spoke to Mubarak for about 30 minutes Friday night.  He later made a statement on the situation in Egypt, saying that "our first concern is to prevent injury and loss of life."  The president added, "They have rights that are universal, peaceful assembly…free speech, these are human rights, the US will stand up for them everywhere."

Obama also called for political and social reform in Egypt.  The president said that when Mubarak pledged better democracy and economic opportunity, he informed Mubarak that "he has the responsibility to give meaning to those words."

The Egyptian government imposed a nationwide curfew Friday after a day of fierce clashes but protesters defied it and continued to pour out into the streets.

In Cairo, thousands of protesters, frustrated with high unemployment, hunger and corruption, poured out of mosques after Friday prayers chanting "out, out, out." They were met with by armored vehicles and police firing a barrage of rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons. But the crowds, seething with anger, were unrelenting and retaliated by throwing rocks at the police.

A number of Egyptians expressed frustration with the U.S. government and President Obama, telling ABC News that for all the talk about freedom, the U.S. is not supporting it in Egypt. One protester pointed to the fact that the tear gas canisters being used by the police are made in the U.S.

The Egyptian government has shut down Internet and cell phone service in the country, leaving landlines and satellite as the only form of communication.

Earlier Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the Egyptian government to open cell phone and internet lines, and also urged protesters to march peacefully, saying "violence will not make these grievances go away." But she dodged a question on whether Mubarak's 30-year rule is coming to an end as both the State Department and White House cancelled their afternoon briefings.

"We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by the Egyptian police and security forces against protesters, and we call on the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain the security forces. At the same time, protestors should also refrain from violence and express themselves peacefully," Clinton said, in the most forceful tone she has employed since protests began this week.

"As we have repeatedly said, we support the universal human rights of the Egyptian people, including the right to freedom of expression, of association, and of assembly," she added. "We urge the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communication."


Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Friday
Jan282011

Biden Calls Egyptian President Mubarak an “Ally,” Not a Dictator

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an interview with the NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer Thursday, Vice President Biden said he would not refer to Egyptian President Mubarak as a dictator and instead called him an “ally” on a number of key foreign policy issues.

When asked if it was time for Mubarak to stand aside, Biden said no.

“I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that -- to be more responsive to some of the -- some -- some of the needs of the people out there,” Biden said.

Biden said the people protesting are “middle-class folks” who are looking for more opportunity.

“Violence isn’t appropriate and people have a right to protest,” he said, adding that he hopes Mubarak will “respond to some of the legitimate concerns that are being raised.”

“Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things.  And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with Israel,” the vice president said.  “And I think that it would be -- I would not refer to him as a dictator."

Biden stressed repeatedly that when it comes to Egypt and Tunisia, the United States urges all parties to resolve concerns and differences through peaceful and amicable discussions, not violence.

The vice president said that the Obama administration is urging the protestors in both Egypt and Tunisia that “as they assemble, do it peacefully” and encouraging the governments there to “act responsibly and to try to engage in a discussions as to what the legitimate claims are being made.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio