Following Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s defiant Thursday night speech in which he refused to step down, President Obama issued a statement urging Mubarak and his regime to explain their actions and push for nonviolent negotiations:
The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.
The president went on to side with the Egyptian public.
The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people.
Just what the U.S. government is willing to do to make that a reality is unclear. According to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chair of the Senate subcommittee that oversees U.S. foreign aid, Mubarak’s continued defiance may mean that “the [aid] pipeline will be turned off.” The U.S. currently provides around $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt annually.
And back in Tahrir Square, anti-Mubarak protesters have vowed to continue making their voices heard. A major protest is planned after Friday morning prayers.
Mubarak Refuses To Step Down, Vows To Pass Powers To Egypt’s Vice President [Huffington Post]
How Fast Can Obama or Congress Cut Off Aid to Mubarak? [Mother Jones]
Mubarak’s refusal to step down enrages protesters [CNN]