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Attacks on scribes, protesters unacceptable: Obama tells Egypt

February 05, 2011 11:03 IST

Asserting that attacks on journalists, human rights activists and protesters in Egypt are 'unacceptable', United States President Barack Obama has said that his administration is closely monitoring the situation in the country.

"In recent days we've seen violence and harassment erupt on the streets of Egypt that violates human rights, universal values and international norms. So we are sending a strong and unequivocal message. Attacks on reporters, human rights activists and peaceful protesters are unacceptable," Obama said at a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday.

Stressing that the issues at stake in Egypt will not be resolved through violence or suppression, Obama said he has been encouraged by the restraint shown on Friday and hoped that it continues.

"The situation in Egypt is fluid and the US is monitoring it closely," he said.

Noting that the Egyptian government has the responsibility to protect the rights of its people, he said the protestors also have a responsibility to demonstrate peacefully.

Acknowledging that the future of Egypt will be determined by its people, Obama said, "It's also clear that there needs to be a transition process that begins now. That transition must initiate a process that respects the universal rights of the Egyptian people and that leads to free and fair elections".

The US President said negotiations should include a broad representation of the Egyptian opposition, and this transition must address the legitimate grievances of those who seek a better future.

"We want to see this moment of turmoil turn into a moment of opportunity. The entire world is watching. What we hope for and what we will work for is a future where all of Egyptian society seizes that opportunity," Obama said.

"Right now, a great and ancient civilisation is going through a time of tumult and transition. And even as there are grave challenges and great uncertainty, I am confident that the Egyptian people can shape the future that they deserve," he added.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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