Obama calls world leaders as Egypt confrontation escalates

Barack Obama and Kind Abdullah
Washington, Jan 31: US President Barack Obama has reached out to the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Britain on the fast unfolding situation in Egypt, the White House revealed.

"The President asked each of the leaders that he spoke to for their assessment of the situation, and agreed to stay in close contact going forward," the White House said in a statement.

Obama spoke to Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Jan 29.

As the protests against Hosni Mubarak entered the sixth day in Egypt, Obama also spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron, the White House said. "During his calls, the President reiterated his focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, association, and speech; and supporting an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people," it said.

Obama had earlier asked the government in Egypt to ensure that force was not used against peaceful protesters. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an "orderly transition" to democracy in Egypt, and said the legitimate grievances of the people will have to be addressed.

As many as 150 people have died so far ever since the uprising began against President Mubarak''s 30-year-old rule.

Obama also held a meeting with his national security team on the Egypt crisis amidst reports of intensification of anti-government protests in that country. "He reiterated our focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights; and supporting concrete steps that advance political reform within Egypt," the White House said in a statement.

The US President was updated on the current situation in Egypt during the meeting that lasted for about an hour. Vice-President Joe Biden, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and his deputy Denis McDonough, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, National Security Advisor to Vice-President Tony Blinken and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes were present at the meeting.


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