US calls for orderly change in Egypt
After making it clear to Hosni Mubarak he must deliver on his promise of political reforms, the US let it be known on Sunday it doesn't want him summarily tossed out. It prefers "orderly transition'.
In calls to leaders in the region, President Barack Obama said the US supports: "an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people".
But the US also made clear its support for the Egyptians' right to peaceful assembly, associaiton and speech, which the authorities were clamping down on in an attempt send home the protestors.
Secretary of state Hillary Clinton used pretty much the same construct at a news briefing. She set it up by saying the US wants Mubarak to deliver on the promises in his address to the nation.
But. "This is a very serious time for Egypt," she said, adding, "we are going to do all that we can to support an orderly transition to a situation in which the aspirations of the Egyptians are addressed."
"Orderly transition", once again. And there are many complexities about that, because obviously, Egypt has been our partner, and we have worked closely with Egypt to maintain peace in the region.
There is disquiet in the region specially in countries ruled by long-serving auocrats, some of whom are staunch US allies. But there is no letting up of pressure from the US. The state department is keeping up a drumbeat of demands and observations urging the authorities to go easy on the protestors. And allow news oerganisation the necessary freedom to do their work.
"We are concerned by the shutdown of Al-Jazeera in Egypt and arrest of its correspondents. Egypt must be open and the reporters released," read a tweet by state department spokesman P J Crowley.
The US has in the meantime started evacuating its ctizens from Egyopt. they are being taken to safer areas in the region. Over 200 of them have been flown out in chartered flights so far.