U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reflected the will of the Egyptian people and called on the country's powerful military to ensure a transition to "genuine democracy."
Obama spoke after Mubarak handed over power to the Egyptian army after an 18-day popular uprising, with Washington now facing deep uncertainty and huge challenges in a potentially volatile power shift in Cairo that could have repercussions for U.S. policy across the Middle East.
"The people of Egypt have spoken," Obama told reporters. "Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day."
He warned that this was not the end, but just the beginning of Egypt's transition to democracy, saying, "There will be many difficult days ahead and many questions remain unanswered."
Obama praised Egyptian protesters for forcing political change in their country, he was careful to avoid saying anything that might be seen as promoting further unrest elsewhere in the Arab world.
But Obama made clear the importance Washington places on its close ties with the Egyptian military, which relies on $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid and is seen as the key to keeping the situation from descending into chaos.
"The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people," Obama said.
In an apparent effort to calm Israeli concerns, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said it was important that the next government of Egypt uphold its 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state. Israel is worried that Egypt's future leaders might not be as committed as Mubarak was to maintaining peace.
ReutersLast Mod: 12 Şubat 2011, 09:35