Egypt crisis: Obama says transition 'must begin now'
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in an appearance Egyptian state TV Tuesday night, said he won't seek re-election in September.
February 1st, 2011
09:45 PM ET

Egypt crisis: Obama says transition 'must begin now'

    Read full coverage of the unrest in Egypt updated continually by CNN reporters worldwide. Send your photos and video to iReport and see CNN in Arabic here. See also this strong roundup of timely, insightful views on the wave of upheaval in the Arab world.

    [Update 5:13 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 10:13 p.m. ET Tuesday] In Alexandria on Tuesday, protesters clashed with supporters of Mubarak, leaving 12 people injured, said Qutb Hassanein, a member of an opposition group. The military was called in to restore calm.

    [Update 3:09 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 8:09 p.m. ET Tuesday] Here is a collection of reactions to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's Tuesday night speech, in which he said he would not run for re-election.

    [Update 2:53 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 7:53 p.m. ET Tuesday] Video of Obama's speech:

    [Update 1:50 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 6:50 p.m. ET Tuesday] U.S. President Barack Obama said he spoke with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after Mubarak's speech, and that Mubarak "recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place."

    Obama said that while it is not the role of any outside country to determine Egypt's leaders, he indicated to Mubarak that it is clear that an orderly transition should be meaningful and peaceful and "must begin now."

    Obama said the process must include a broad spectrum of voices and opposition parties and free and fair elections, and it should lead to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

    [Update 1:33 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 6:33 p.m. ET Tuesday] U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by phone Tuesday for roughly 30 minutes, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

    Obama is expected to give a statement soon on the situation in Egypt, the White House says.

    [Update 1:14 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 6:14 p.m. ET Tuesday] Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei, the former chief of the U.N. atomic agency, criticized President Hosni Mubarak's announcement that he would continue the rest of his term but not seek re-election, calling it an "act of deception."

    "It's a person who doesn't want to let go, a dictator who doesn’t want to listen to the clear voice of the people," ElBaradei told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

    "Whoever gave him that advice gave him absolutely the wrong advice. He just has to let go. Not only is (he) going - at best - to be a lame duck president, he's going to be a dead man walking," ElBaradei said.

    [Update 12:55 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 5:55 p.m. ET Tuesday] Amre Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, told CNN Tuesday that Mubarak's offer to not seek re-election and to work for a transfer of power was new and should be considered carefully. Moussa is a veteran diplomat who was Mubarak's foreign minister until 2001.

    Earlier, Moussa told Al Arabiya TV that if he is asked to play a role during any Egyptian political transition, he "will carry out my duties to serve the people of Egypt."

    [Update 12:48 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 5:48 p.m. ET Tuesday] Here is the text of President Hosni Mubarak's Tuesday evening address in which he said he would not run for re-election.

    [Update 12:35 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 5:35 p.m. ET Tuesday] U.S. President Barack Obama will make a statement within the hour on the situation in Egypt, the White House says.

    [Update 12:05 a.m. Wednesday in Cairo, 5:05 p.m. ET Tuesday] Chants continue from thousands of protesters on Cairo's Tahrir Square. Following President Hosni Mubarak's announcement, earlier in the night, that he wouldn't seek re-election in September, thousands erupted in chants of "Down with Mubarak" and "the people want the president to be judged." Some waved shoes in the air - a deep insult in the Arab world.

    [Update 11:47 p.m. Cairo, 4:47 p.m. ET] With President Hosni Mubarak's announcement that he would not run for re-election in September, protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where thousands have gathered for days to call for his ouster, erupted in angry shouts. Several of them have said they will continue to demand Mubarak's immediate resignation.

    "This is not enough," Mahmoud Safi, a lawyer taking part in the Cairo demonstrations, told CNN after reports of Mubarak's impending announcement emerged. "We have one request. We want him to leave our country now, immediately, not tomorrow."

    In his speech aired on state television Tuesday night, Mubarak said he will wrap up nearly 30 years as Egypt's president in September and hand over power "in a constitutional way."

    Earlier, sources told CNN that a U.S. envoy sent by President Barack Obama urged Mubarak to announce he wouldn't run for re-election later.

    [Update 11:05 p.m. Cairo, 4:05 p.m. ET] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on state television Tuesday night that he will not seek another term in the next elections, which currently are scheduled for September.

    According to an English translation of his speech, Mubarak said that "with all honesty and without looking at this particular situation ... I was not intent on standing for the next elections because I have spent enough time in serving Egypt."

    [Update 10:37 p.m. Cairo, 3:37 p.m. ET] The U.S. State Department says about 1,600 Americans have been evacuated in flights from Egypt since Monday, and more than 60 others are expected to be flown out before the day is over.

    Earlier Tuesday, the State Department ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members from Egypt. The State Department says other U.S. citizens should consider leaving Egypt as soon as they can safely do so because of ongoing political and social unrest, and the department still is making arrangements to provide charter air transportation from Cairo's airport to locations in Europe for U.S. citizens and eligible dependents who wish to leave. Other countries including the United Kingdom, China, India, Thailand and Australia were attempting to get stranded citizens out of Egypt.

    [Update 9:38 p.m. Cairo, 2:38 p.m. ET] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has decided not to seek re-election, according to a senior U.S. official involved in the Obama administration's deliberations on Egypt. The official cited "reliable contacts in Cairo" for the news. The New York Times reported Obama pushed Mubarak into the decision via a message delivered by former Ambassador Frank Wisner, who paid a personal visit to Mubarak on Tuesday.

    [Update 9:14 Cairo, 2:14 ET] Delta Air Lines spokesman Kent Landers confirms it has started extra flights into Europe from Cairo. Since this weekend Delta has been partnering with KLM and Air France to fly passengers into Europe. On Tuesday the airline began 200-seat flights from Cairo to Athens. On Wednesday, Delta will add more than 200 seats from Cairo to Rome.

    [Update 8:38 p.m. Cairo, 1:38 p.m. ET] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will address the nation Tuesday night, Reuters reports. Mubarak will say he will not seek another term as president, according to the Al Arabiya network.

    [Update 8:11 p.m. Cairo, 1:11 p.m. ET] President Obama is calling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his other top national security advisers to the White House this afternoon for a meeting on Egypt, a senior U.S. official said. Officials say the protest movement in Egypt is in the midst of a decisive moment.

    [Update 7:04 p.m. Cairo, 12:04 p.m. ET] U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke Tuesday with Egypt's defense minister, Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan said.

    [Update 6:46 p.m. Cairo, 11:46 a.m. ET] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the international community must demand that any Egyptian government maintain its peace treaty with Israel.

    [Update 6:19 p.m. Cairo, 11:19 a.m. ET] A senior U.S. State Department official confirmed that Margaret Scobey, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, met Tuesday with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei. The official said Scobey is also meeting with members of other political movements and her conversation with ElBaradei doesn't mean the United States favors him.

    [Update 5:47 p.m. Cairo, 10:47 a.m. ET] The U.K. Foreign Office has confirmed that on Wednesday it will send a Boeing 757 to fetch Britons out of Egypt. Those taking the charter flight will have to pay about $500, the Foreign Office said.

    [Update 5:11 p.m. Cairo, 10:11 a.m. ET] Margaret Scobey, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, met on Tuesday with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, the Al Arabiya news network reported.

    [Update 5:01 p.m. Cairo, 10:01 a.m. ET] Google and Twitter have worked out a way for people to issue messages without internet access:

    [Update 4:55 p.m. Cairo, 9:55 a.m. ET] Egyptian Finance Minister Samir Radwan said: "Unemployment will increase due to this destruction and because economic life has been halted for more than a week now. We have also taken a decision that everyone who works and has been out of work because of these events will receive unemployment compensation. This is the quick solution which the Finance Ministry saw as its duty to offer to the Egyptian people."

    [Update 4:47 p.m. Cairo, 9:47 a.m. ET] Egypt's army issued a statement thanking "all the citizens and the youth for working with their armed forces to protect public and private property." It also warned that civilians found wearing military uniforms will be prosecuted.

    [Update 4:40 p.m. Cairo, 9:40 a.m. ET] Israeli President Shimon Peres warns Egypt not to follow the path of Gaza in pursuing democracy, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post. The Islamic resistance group Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, won parliamentary elections in Gaza in 2006.

    "Democracy cannot start and end in elections only," the Post quotes Peres as saying. "True democracy begins on the day after the elections, in granting human rights and concern for citizens' welfare. If a religious extremist dictatorship rises the day after democratic elections, what are democratic elections worth?"

    [Update 4:37 p.m. Cairo, 9:37 a.m. ET] Tweets within past 45 minutes from CNN's Nic Robertson in the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria:

    [Update 4:12 p.m. Cairo, 9:12 a.m. ET] Standard & Poor's ratings agency on Tuesday lowered Egypt's debt rating.

    [Update 3:59 p.m. Cairo, 8:59 a.m. ET] The U.S. Department of State has ordered the departure of all non-emergency American government personnel and their families from Egypt, State spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Tuesday.

    [Update 3:30 p.m. Cairo, 8:30 a.m. ET] Twitter user Abdulla al Kaabi tweeted: "#Mubarak should probably turn the Internet back on so he can book a trip on Expedia."

    [Update 3 p.m. Cairo, 8 a.m. ET] Jordan's King Abdullah II has appointed Maarouf Al Bakhit as the country's new prime minister, a move that comes after several protests calling for political reform in Jordan. The king asked Al Bakhit to form a new government that will be charged with "taking practical, swift, and tangible steps to launch a real political reform process, in line with the King's vision of comprehensive reform, modernization and development," the country's official Petra news agency reported.

    [Update 2:46 p.m. Cairo, 7:46 a.m. ET] The Egyptian crisis has sent oil prices to a 2-year high above $92 a barrel, up 5.5% in two trading sessions, due to concern the turmoil could spread to Middle East nations that are bigger crude producers. But some traders believe the run-up is an overreaction, with the major Gulf oil states protected from such conflict. Egypt is not an oil exporter, and only about 1.8 million barrels a day move through the Suez Canal, which it controls. That's just 2% of the world's oil supply. The price retreated 81 cents to $91.38 a barrel in Tuesday trading.

    [Update 2:23 p.m. Cairo, 7:23 ET] The Obama administration has sent former U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner to Egypt to meet with officials there, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told CNN.

    [Update 2:18 p.m. Cairo, 7:18 a.m. ET] Amre Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, told Al Arabiya TV that if he is asked to play a role during any Egyptian political transition, "I will carry out my duties to serve the people of Egypt."

    [Update 1:04 p.m. Cairo, 6:04 a.m. ET] British carrier BMI says it has organized an extra flight to help British nationals get back to the United Kingdom from Egypt. The flight is expected to depart from Cairo Tuesday afternoon with 124 passengers.

    The U.N.'s high commissioner for human rights praised protesters in Egypt and said she was alarmed by a rise in casualties during unrest in the country.

    Soldiers at Cairo's Ramses Hilton hotel were putting on newly issued flak jackets - straight out of their boxes - on Tuesday morning. When asked why they were putting on the new equipment, one soldier shrugged his shoulders and pointed to the crowd walking outside.

    [Update 12:40 p.m. Cairo, 5:40 a.m. ET] Anti-government protesters have said they are planning a "march of millions" in the city Tuesday. Protesters had packed Cairo's Tahrir Square by noon  (5 a.m. ET), standing shoulder to shoulder as large groups still streamed into the area.

    [Update 11:16 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 4:16 a.m. ET Tuesday] "No to the traitors," chanted a pro-Mubarak group as it headed toward the rally site.  It will be "a very dramatic and perhaps even a decisive day," said Nicholas Burns, a professor of diplomacy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a former U.S. undersecretary of state. "If the military cracks down on peaceful demonstrators on the streets of Alexandria or Cairo, that will be a decisive factor," he said.

    The military said Monday evening it would not open fire on peaceful protesters.

    [Update 10:43 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 3:43 a.m. ET Tuesday] Protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square set up their own checkpoints Tuesday to keep weapons out of the area.

    Inside the square, the atmosphere was peaceful. People brought food and beverages to share. Parents stood in the streets alongside children, saying they were there because of their kids.  

    [Update 8:14 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 1:14 a.m. ET Tuesday] Protesters chanting "Down with Mubarak" were gathered on one side of  Cairo's Tahrir Square Tuesday morning. On the other side of the square was a group of people listening to patriotic music.

    Soldiers at a security checkpoint said demonstrators supporting President  Hosni Mubarak were also in the square, which has been a focal point of the anti-government protests that started a week ago.  Anti-government protesters have said they are planning a "march of millions" in the city Tuesday.


Post by:
Filed under: Egypt • Protest
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. Philip

    @Rusty....same thing mistyy said earlier, and true. This rebellion has nothing to do with their standard of living. Egypt is a very wealthy nation, wealthier than us per capita. their minimum wage is much higher than our own. It's about removing a renegade turn-coat who has sided with the corporate elite instead of protecting his peoples from them. Mubarek claims to serve Allah but his actions prove otherwise. Just as Israel, who supports Mubarek, claim to be God's chosen nation while their actions prove otherwise. Even our own leaders who claim to be Christian, yet never inquire of God nor follow his directions as found in the bible. Virtually all of the world's leaders are religious in name only, and all cooperate with one another for profit at the peoples expense. They have traded faith in the God's they claim to serve for a few measly dollars.

    February 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • JT

      keep on living like the past 2,000 years don't matter. Egypt is how old? A lot older than the bible.

      February 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Amma

    Hosni has ruled long enough and must step down for democracy through the ballot box.

    February 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike M

    Next. US people dump 98 percent of US Congress who are nothing but shills for pro-Israeli party line.

    February 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jpm

      Ya I don't think that will happen but it would be nice.

      February 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • promixcuous

      No thanks! Keep Israel safe.

      February 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 2Cent

    For those people know whats up for real. This is the healing in of the wound that started in the fall of the Berlin Wall. World Government between NATO and Communist is beginning to arise!

    February 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike M

      A vast * new * force. I hope not a world government. But you may be right – what's going on is part of something that started with fall of Berlin wall. – – – or maybe it is the end of a vast old force. I suppose, by definition, that is the beginning of a vast new force.

      February 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Democratic Dunes.hahahahh

    Mubarak came to power through the military take over like Sudan's Al' Bashir. What kind of democracy recognizes military takeovers and continue to support them for decades? Time to go! Time to go! Africa has to change and the solution is local. Like Amin, like Moi, like Mengistu...time is now! Next should be Sudan, Uganda,Ethiopia,Libya, Mauritania and Zimbabwe. When change has come, only change can change itself. Time! How long can we pretend it is ok to have these demagogues? We hope other African countries are watching. Second Democratic movements and the power of the masses are at the door knocking. We are born equal. We let others disenfranchise us. African women must also wake up! Time to take over leadership not just replacing useless men with useless men. Justice now!

    Egyptians keep-up and watch the incoming ones too...else see second African democracies that share the Nile River with you. They are still messy. Time to straighten out.

    February 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike M

      Trouble is the forces that are non-local (the forces on the outside) are pretty sophisticated and know how to get into their head and lead them to the wrong place. However, maybe things are changing. And certainly keeping things * local * is a protection.

      February 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dr. Fanon

    All that the Obama crowd needs to concern itself with is repairing the 30 years of injury caused to the Egyptian people by the US-financed Mubarak regime and the bogus Camp David treaty with the Jewish settler colony on Palestine.

    February 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CommentatorandPoet

    No one needs to be a President of any country for thirty years, much less a President for a second term.

    February 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jimmy Dunn

    First of all, there are Mubarak supporters, and there always have been. They are the older elite, and there are some other types of Mubarak supporters too. They are simply a lot of non-elite businessmen who can't afford what is happening right now, but would like to see a more orderly transition to real democracy. And I am not saying that these are great supporters. Many of them are the ones benefiting from various degrees of corruption. But others just cannot afford a prolonged chaos as is happening now. I own a small tourism company in Egypt and fall into this latter group.

    I would like to see Mubarak leave, but in a more orderly fashion. And frankly, Egyptian people could possibly negotiate some real advancements at this point. Indeed, one possible solution to this is that, well, Mubarak has lots of money, and not long from now a lot of the young protesters, are going to get hungry. Literally. What would be a shame is for them to end up walking away from this with nothing because Mubarak can outlast them.

    I even hear now that the young people who started the protests are upset that the opposition leaders have sort of taken over some of the show. Apparently they may even be talking to the current regime and working out some sort of compromises. I would love to see one be UN administered and monitored elections. Perhaps even some sort of quota of opposition in the government. I think there are lots of good compromises that could be made.

    But the youth organizers just want Mubarak out. That's how they started the whole thing, and good for them that they got it started. But they apparently didn't start it with any leaders in mind to take things over if they got Mubarak out. Had they started this, and Mubarak just stepped down that first day, it might be a lot like when one of the Mameluke leaders died and they would fight it out in the street and lobe cannon balls back and forth between the Citadel (the Burgi Mamelukes) and Roda Island (the Bahri Mamelukes).

    February 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LatinOne

    Right. Next should be Sudan, Uganda,Ethiopia,Libya, Mauritania and Zimbabwe..YES.... and... very soon also VENEZUELA. Stop demagogy !

    February 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Look I can do it too: Next should be Trinidad & Tobago, followed by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, then just moments later should be Iceland, to be concluded with Laos and North Korea. Well what do you know, I got at least 1 right!!!

      February 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar

    111th comment, just hope that

    February 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. younes lahlou

    they sould stop kiling people.that sad that no one stop that mess.i wish if the usa will do something about it...!

    February 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ramon

    All began in 18 century with the French Revolution, today is Egypt, tomorrow is coming Cuba, Venezuela and all the Arab World.
    Freedom Right now!!!!!!

    A Chilean fighter of democracy!!!!

    February 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • sullysamber

      YAHHHHH!!!!!-well said RAMON!!!!!!!!!-FREEDOM FOR ALL....NOW!!!!!!!--go egypt-we are inspired by you-we are not "the american government"...we are struggeling humans as you are to........go egtypt.......

      February 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jerry

    Hopefully Mubarak will go on TV tonight to announce his resignation

    February 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sullysamber

    -–SHOT OUT TO THE- EGYPTION PEOPLE-WE HERE IN AMERICA (WELL MOST)...WANT TO LET THEM KNOW...WE SUPPORT THEM-OUR INSPIRED BY THEM--LUV THERE BRAVERY- ARE PROUD BY THEIR WILL-AND-DETERMINATION!!!!- GET THAT MURDERING–CORRUPT–TYRANT OUT OF THERE--I THINK THEIR POINT IS.."THINGS REALLY COULDNT GET MUCH WORSE"-FOR THEM!!!-BUT FOR AMERICA...WHO KNOWS.-HOW THE (HOPEFULLY NEAR FUTURE) WILL LOOK FOR AMERICA AND OTHER COUNTRIES...BUT MOTHERS–KIDS ETC..–ARE BEING TORTURED-MURDERED - MISTREADED...AND WE ARE QUESTIONING THIS?????!!.. THESE GOVERNMENTS REALLY NEED TO START LISTENING–AND REALLY HEARING "THE PEOPLE"..INSTEAD OF WHATS GOOD FOR THEM!!!!!!!!
    -AS FOR HOW I FEEL--I JUST WANT SOMEONE -SOMEHOW TO GET THE WORD OUT TO THE "EGYPTION PEOPLE"..THAT US AMERICANS ARE SO HAPPY -AND ARE ROOTING FOR THEM....WE ARE NOT ARE GOVERNMENT-WE ARE-BROTHERS AND SISTERS-MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS-FATHERS AND SONS...JUST LIKE THEM..."WE ARE ALL HUMAN"..WE ARE MADE OF THE SAME--AND WE SHOULD ALL BE TREATED EQUAL-AND WERE NOT!!!
    ...IT BAFFLES ME THAT ALL THIS HAPPENDS WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE THIS BEAUTIFUL ROUND PLANET FLOATING IN THIS AMAZING UNIVERSE(REALLY IS ALL QUITE A MIRACLE)–AND THERES ALL THIS FIGHTING AND KILLING –HATE-AND UNPEACEFULNESS...I GUESS THATS ONLY SOMETHING AN AUSTRONAUT COULD WITTNESS...!!!!!!! (SOMETHING ILL NEVER BE)....
    ....PLEASE-GET THE WORD TO THE "EGYPTIONS"...WE ARE ROOTING-INSPIRED–AND SO GLAD FOR THEM...KEEP IT UP....WE AMERICANS ARE NOT OUR GOVERNMENT WE CARE ABOUT THEM-HUMAN -TO- HUMAN-POVERTY-TO-POVERTY-HARD WORKER-TO-HARD WORKER...HUNGRY -TO-HUNGRY....GO EGYPT!!!!-GO E-GYPT!!!!!!!–PEACE TO ALL!!!!!!

    February 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nermo

    To Aljazira, stop lying and steering up things for your benefit which we all understand where is it coming from. Leave my country alone and mind your own business, making up fake news is not deceiving anyone. To Mubarak, We love you and support you, I am very grateful for your patience and help in passing this difficult time, keeping my country safe for the last 30 years, keeping our dignity and strong presence world wide. Please do not leave, I will be very sad if you do. From a true Egyptian

    February 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      One of Mubarak's cronies eh?

      February 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12