3:28 p.m. President Obama’s Cabinet meeting today began with an update on the “ongoing events” in Egypt as well as Afghanistan and Iraq, the White House said in a statement. “With regard to Egypt, Secretary Clinton discussed our focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, association, and speech; and supporting an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” the statement said.
3:10 p.m. Approximately 1,600 U.S citizens and their family members have been evacuated from Egypt since Monday, the State Department said in a statement. Today’s evacuations slowed due to road closures because of demonstrations on the way to the airport.
Nearly 400 passengers were flown to safe havens in Istanbul and Athens today aboard three U.S. government-chartered planes, the statement said, noting that a fourth plane awaiting takeoff will bring the day’s total to more than 460. So far, more than 3,000 U.S. citizens have communicated a desire to evacuate.
2:20 p.m. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he now believes the Obama administration is handling Egypt "in a measured fashion," NJ Daily will report today. On Sunday, McCain had criticized the administration for not moving quickly enough. "I think they stumbled at the beginning," McCain said. "We just want to make sure that we're ahead of events rather than behind them. And we've got to be on the right side of history. If you're on the right side of history, it works out OK."
2:11 p.m. Former Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner conveyed President Obama’s private message to Mubarak that he should not run for another term in the fall, the New York Times reported, citing American diplomats in Cairo and Washington.
2:10 p.m. President Obama will be briefed by his senior national security team on events in Egypt at 3:30 p.m. today. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will also attend the meeting.
2:09 p.m. Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said he does not believe he should be making recommendations for Egypt, NJ Daily will report today. His comments put him at odds with Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., who today called for Mubarak to leave office to make way for a new government.
"I do not intend to make suggestions to the Egyptian people at this point as to how they should resolve their problems," Lugar said.
Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., likewise did not back Kerry's comments today about Mubarak, saying only that he agrees with the State Department and the White House on the matter. Publicly, the Obama administration has not called for Mubarak to step down.
2:03 p.m. In an interview with Al Arabiya TV, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said protesters have labeled this Friday "the Friday of departure" for President Mubarak.
"I hope that President Mubarak would react before that and exit the country after 30 years of his rule. I don't think he wants to see more bloodshed," he told the station.
1:40 p.m. Big news from Al Arabiya TV again. According to the station, in his statement tonight, President Mubarak will announce that he will not seek reelection this September but will stay in office until then.
1:36 p.m. London's Guardian posts a statement from a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron that sounds remarkably similar to the position the U.S. is taking:
"The government has had a range of contacts through today on the situation in Egypt.
"The prime minister spoke this afternoon to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and to Egyptian prime minister Shafiq. In his calls, the prime minister welcomed the restraint the Egyptian Army had shown today and emphasised the importance of allowing the protests to take place peacefully. The prime minister also made very clear that the Egyptian government must now urgently listen to the aspirations of its people. The prime minister called for an orderly transition to a broad-based government, including opposition figures. The prime minister also said that bold steps were needed to produce real, visible and comprehensive change, with a clear path to free and fair elections. In addition the British ambassador in Cairo, Dominic Asquith, has had a range contacts on the ground today with both government and opposition figures, including Mohammed El Baradei, in which he has set out this approach."