President Barack Obama said Friday that discussions have begun in Egypt on a turnover of the government, and he said he hoped “to see this moment of turmoil turned into a moment of opportunity.” “The whole world is watching,” Obama said after meeting at the White House with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Obama said he was encouraged with the restraint showed Friday and repeated his insistence that the U.S. opposes the use of violence either by the government or the protesters.
“This is obviously still a fluid situation, and we’re monitoring it closely,” Obama said.
He said the U.S. wants to send a “strong and clear message” that attacks on journalists, human rights activists and peaceful protesters “are unacceptable.”
He did not directly blame the Mubarak government for the attacks but said the Egyptian government is responsible for protecting its people.
Obama did not insist that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leave immediately. But he talked about “a transition period that begins now.”
He said the process must “lead to free and fair elections” but that “details of this transition will be worked by Egyptians.”