Biden, Suleiman consult on Egypt

Feb. 8, 2011 at 5:54 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter
1 of 4
| License Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- As a 15th day of demonstrations rocked Cairo Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden talked with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, affirming U.S. support.

Hundreds of thousands gathered in Tahrir Square Tuesday to press demands President Hosni Mubarak step aside.

Biden told Suleiman the United States supports an orderly transition in Egypt and urged a "prompt, meaningful, peaceful and legitimate" change.

"The vice president reaffirmed that the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people," a White House readout on the conversation said. "The vice president took note of steps the government of Egypt has pledged to take in response to the opposition and urged the government to take immediate action to follow through on its commitments."

The two also discussed an immediate end to the arrest and harassment of reporters covering the uprising, an end to emergency law, greater participation by opposition members in a national dialogue and inviting the opposition to aid in the transition.

"These steps, and a clear policy of no reprisals, are what the broad opposition is calling for and what the government is saying it is prepared to accept," the readout said. "Vice President Biden expressed the belief that the demands of the broad opposition can be met through meaningful negotiations with the government.

During the daily press briefing, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the United States is not trying to impose any kind of solution on Egypt but he said remarks made by Suleiman Monday did not help the situation.

"You know, yesterday I think the vice president -- Vice President Suleiman made some particularly unhelpful comments about Egypt not being ready for democracy, about not seeing a lift of the emergency law," Gibbs said. "And I don't -- I don't think that in any way squares with what those seeking greater opportunity and freedom think is a timetable for progress."

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories