- The Washington Times - Friday, February 11, 2011

Calling the upheaval in Cairo a chance “to witness history taking place,” President Obama on Friday said Egypt now has an obligation to follow through to full democracy now that President Hosni Mubarak has ceded power and fled the city.

“I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers, and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the pursuit of unity that has defined these last few weks, for Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day,” the president said at the White House, speaking hours after Mr. Mubarak’s resignation after three decades in power.

Mr. Obama and his administration have watched the back-and-forth between Mr. Mubarak and protesters in Egypt, taking pains to urge a path forward but trying not to put a finger too heavily on one side of the scale or another.

On Friday, Mr. Obama said the U.S. “will continue to be a friend and partner” to Egypt as it figures out that path forward.

Earlier in the 18-day struggle Mr. Mubarak had said he wouldn’t seek re-election but protesters said they wanted him gone immediately. On Thursday he signaled he was turning power over to his vice president but would not resign, prompting protests to kick into a higher gear. On Friday, Vice President Omar Suleiman said Mr. Mubarak had resigned and power was being assumed by the leaders of the armed forces.

Mr. Obama said the military now has an obligation to rescind emergency powers and “ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people.”