Obama: Mubarak Needs to Listen to the Egyptian People

President Barack Obama says Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak needs to listen to the Egyptian people and make a judgment about the best way forward.

Obama declined to say whether he thought Mubarak should leave office now or stay in power until elections can be held. Obama says the key question Mubarak should be asking himself is how he can leave behind a legacy that allows for an orderly transition for his country.

Following 11 days of protests calling for his ouster, Mubarak has said he will not run for office again, but would not step down immediately.

Still, Obama is renewing his demand for a political transition to begin in Egypt now.

The president says that "the entire world is watching," and the issues at stake in Egypt won't be resolved through violence. He condemned attacks on journalists and human rights activists, without blaming the government for them.

In his remarks, Obama said nothing about America's reported involvement in finding a way to get Mubarak to relinquish power immediately and hand it over to a military-backed transitional government.

Obama spoke during a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Meanwhile, the White House also says that whatever government emerges in Egypt, the United States expects its relationship with its key Arab ally to continue to provide regional stability.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked Friday whether the U.S. relationship with Egypt would ever be the same after the ferocious
protests. Mubarak's 30-year reign has provided regional stability and Israeli security even as he repressed his people. The next government could be less friendly to the U.S.

But Gibbs said the U.S. expects that whatever government comes next will continue to provide a "cornerstone for safety and security and regional stability in the Middle East."

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