U.S. Officials: Steps Taken By Egyptian Government So Far Are 'Insufficient' : The Two-Way Officials said the turnout in Tahrir Square yesterday showed that Egyptians were still unhappy with the steps the government has taken until now.
NPR logo U.S. Officials: Steps Taken By Egyptian Government So Far Are 'Insufficient'

U.S. Officials: Steps Taken By Egyptian Government So Far Are 'Insufficient'

In a conference call with reporters, Ben Rhodes, the White House's deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, said the steps the Egyptian government had taken to appease prostesters were thus far "insufficient."

"They didn't constitute concrete actions," he said. Rhodes added that yesterday's turnout at Tahrir square was indicative that the Egyptian people want more change.

The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981, has already announced he will not run for president. Mubarak also appointed a vice president for the first time since he took over as president.

Jake Sullivan, deputy chief of staff for the secretary of state, who was also on the call, stuck to the message the Obama administration has been sending so far: The U.S. wants the Egyptian government to undertake "meaningful, expeditious political change ... that meets the aspirations of the Egyptian people."

Rhodes said that in President Obama's talk with Mubarak, as well as in all diplomatic talks, the U.S. has laid out three principles, they'd like to see from Egypt: First, the military should continue to refrain from violence. Second, universal rights of Egyptians should be respected. And third, "this should be a period of political change in Egypt."

Rhodes also said the U.S. has asked Vice President Omar Suleiman that Egypt immediately end the arrest of journalists and Egyptian citizens opposing the government and they ask that Egypt immediately rescind emergency law.

Both Rhodes and Sullivan, however, said the U.S. didn't want to dictate what happens in Egypt. And they didn't want to pick "personalities."

"Egyptian people are going to be the drivers of this process," said Rhodes. "We don't dictate outcomes," but what the U.S. wants is aligned with what the Egyptian people want.