6:50 p.m. President Obama's remarks on President Mubarak's announcement:
Good evening, everybody. Over the past few days the American people have watched the situation unfolding in Egypt. We've seen enormous demonstrations. We've borne witness to the beginning of a new chapter the history of a great country, and a longtime partner of the United States. My administration has been in close contact with our Egyptian counterparts in a broad range of the Egyptian people, as well as others across the region and across the globe. Throughout this period we've stood for a set of core principles.
First, we oppose violence, and I want to commend the Egyptian military for the professionalism and patriotism that it has shown thus far in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people. We've seen tanks covered with banners and soldiers and protesters embracing in the streets. Going forward, I urge the military to continue its efforts to help ensure that this time of change is peaceful.
Second, we stand for universal values, including the rights of the Egyptian people to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and the freedom to access information. Once more, we've seen the incredible potentially for technology to empower citizens and the dignity of those who stand up for a better future. Going forward, the United States will continue to stand up for democracy and the universal rights that all human beings deserved in Egypt and around the world.
Third, we have spoken out on the need for change. After his speech tonight, I spoke directly to president Mubarak. He recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place. Indeed all of us who are privileged to serve in political positions of power do so at the will of our people. Through thousands of years Egypt has known many moments of transformation. The voices of the Egyptian people tell us this is one of those moments; this is one of those times.
Now, it is not the role of any other country to determine Egypt’s leaders, only the Egyptian people can do that. What is clear and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now. Furthermore it also must include a broad spectrum of voices and opposition parties. It should lead to elections that are free and fair, and it should result in a government that's not only grounded in democratic principles, but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people. Throughout this process, the United States will continue to extend the hand of partnership and friendship to Egypt, and we stand ready to provide any assistance that's necessary to help the Egyptian people as they manage the aftermath of these protests. Over the last few days, the passion and the dignity that has been demonstrated by the people of Egypt has been an inspiration to people around the world, including here in the United States, and to all those who believe in the inevitability of human freedom.
To the people of Egypt, particularly the young people of Egypt, I want to be clear. We hear your voices. I have an unyielding belief that you will determine your own destiny and seize the promise of a better future for your children and your grandchildren. I say that as someone who is committed to a partnership between the United States and Egypt. There will be difficult days ahead. Many questions about Egypt’s futures remain unanswered, but I am confident that the people of Egypt will find those answers. That truth can be seen in the sense of community in the streets. It can be seen in the mothers and fathers embracing soldiers, and it can be seen in the Egyptians who linked arms to protect the national museum. A new generation protecting the treasures of antiquity. A human chain connecting a great and ancient civilization to the promise of a new day. Thank you very much.
5:33 p.m. Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., has issued the following statement after Mubarak's announcement that he will not seek another term:
"This was an important announcement by President Mubarak to bring his presidency to an end and pledge that free and fair elections will be held. I believe that President Mubarak should now work with the military and civil society to establish an interim caretaker government.
"It remains to be seen whether this is enough to satisfy the demands of the Egyptian people for change. We arrived at this point because millions of Egyptians spoke with one voice and exercised fundamental rights we Americans hold dear. They made it clear the future they want is one of greater democracy and greater economic opportunity. Now, that future belongs to them to shape. The Egyptian people are writing the next chapter of Egyptian history.
"Much work remains to be done to turn this auspicious moment into lasting peace and prosperity. Egyptians must now prepare for elections and achieve a peaceful transition of power. The military must continue to show the restraint it has so admirably exercised these past days. And opposition leaders must come together to develop a process that will ensure that all of Egypt's voices are heard.
"As friends of the Egyptian people, there is much that the United States can do as well. Egypt has been a close ally of the United States for many years, and it is my fervent hope that our relationship can grow stronger as the Egyptian people take control of their destiny."
Kerry called for Mubarak to end his rule in an op-ed that appeared today in The New York Times.
5:28 p.m. We're hearing that President Obama will speak within the hour, giving the first formal U.S. response to Mubarak's announcement that he will not run for re-election.
4:40 p.m. Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League and former foreign minister in Mubarak’s government for 10 years, tells CNN he believes that Mubarak offered some real concessions, which is a “real achievement” for the country.
“This is a very important step that he [Mubarak] is not going to run again, that the constitution will be amended to limit the duration of the presidency of any president. Those are all among the demands that people wanted to see… insisted upon. I am aware that there are certain currents in Egypt now that would not see that as satisfactory,” Moussa said, noting that the discussions from this point on will be “very intense” about whether Egyptians should accept Mubarak’s decision not to leave immediately.
Asked directly if he himself would stand as a candidate for free and fair elections planned in September, Moussa said: “Yes, that’s right.”
4:28 p.m. The crowds in Tahrir Square don’t appear reassured by Mubarak’s speech. They continue to chant for him to leave, echoing earlier demands from protesters that the president must leave the country immediately. For his part, Mubarak seemed to suggest he was not going anywhere:
“Hosni Mubarak, who addresses you today, takes pride in the long years in serving the people, and this is my home land, like all Egyptians. I defended its soil, and I will die on this soil. I will be judged by history. Homeland will live on. People will not,” he said in his speech.
4:08 p.m. We've finally heard from Mubarak, In his address to the nation he said he won't seek another term but will oversee the country until the elections. The elections had been scheduled for September, though Mubarak said he will ask the parliament to move them up. "My first responsibility now is to restore the security and stability of the homeland to achieve a peaceful transition of power in an environment that will protect Egypt and Egyptians, and will allow for responsibility to be given to whoever the people will elect in the forthcoming elections," Mubarak said. "[Regardless of this] particular situation ... I was not intent on standing for the next elections because I have spent enough time in serving Egypt and I am now careful to conclude my work for Egypt by presenting Egypt to the next government in a constitutional way which will protect Egypt."
"I want to say in clear terms that in the next few months there are remaining of my reign… I will work very hard to carry out all the necessary measures to transfer power," Mubarak said. "I ask the parliament to commit to speed up the elections. I will pursue the transfer of power in a way that will fulfill the people's demands ... and their hopes for political, economic, and social progress, and for the provision of employment opportunities and fighting poverty and achieving social justice."
"This is my promise," Mubarak said. "During the next few months that remain of my current leadership, I ask of God to help me to my job in a way that is satisfactory to God and to my people," he added.
3:38 p.m. Al Jazeera reports that Khalid Abdel Nasser, son of the former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, has joined the protest in Tahrir Square today. "These are the people of Egypt, the real people of Egypt-- God willing they have achieved their goals," he told the crowd, calling January 25 "the new birthday for the people of Egypt and for the country of Egypt."
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."
1:33 p.m. Al Arabiya is also saying that Vice President Omar Suleiman is meeting with representatives of the political parties.
1:30 p.m. Al Arabiya TV is reporting that President Mubarak will give a televised speech today in Egypt.
CNN is also reporting that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will head over to the White House this afternoon for another meeting on Egypt with the president and other National Security advisers.
1:17 p.m. A tweet from Delta Airlines (@deltaassist) says they will be resuming service into Cairo with stops in Rome.
12:28 p.m. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay praises the demonstrations in Egypt and calls for an investigation into the role the security forces have played. Excerpts from the statement are below:
“The popular movement in Egypt, unprecedented in recent decades, has for the most part been carried out in a courageous and peaceful manner. The whole world is watching how the President and the reconfigured government will react to the continuing protests demanding a radical change to a wide range of civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights.
“I urge the Egyptian authorities to ensure police and other security forces scrupulously avoid excessive use of force, and there needs to be a full investigation into the role of security forces in the violence that occurred over the past few days.”
12:08 p.m. Reuters reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is offering words of support for the pro-democracy protests in Egypt, but is ultimately concerned that Mubarak might be replaced with a radical regime that is unfriendly to Israel. Furthermore, he said, his government is chiefly concerned with maintaining peace with the country, no matter who is in charge.
"Israel believes that the global community must demand that any Egyptian government preserve the peace treaty with Israel," Netanyahu said in a statement today.
12:06 p.m. CNN reports that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke with Egypt's defense minister today, according to Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan.
12:00 p.m. NJ's Marc Ambinder has a great piece out today that takes you behind the scenes at the White House. Learn about the questions Obama has been asking at his briefings and what kinds of reforms he thinks must be made. You can read it here.
11:46 a.m. Al Jazeera reports that the opposition is organizing. A spokesman for Egypt's opposition Al Wafd party said a self-described "new national coalition for change" has been formed, made up of Al Wafd and the National Association for Change, which is affiliated with opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei.
11:40 a.m. Al Jazeera reports that the number of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square has been estimated to be more than a million people.
11:30 a.m. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirms via Twitter that "as part of our public outreach to convey support for orderly transition in #Egypt, Ambassador Scobey spoke today with Mohammed #ElBaradei."
11:13 a.m. A group of Syrian activists are using Facebook and Twitter to promote a day of anger and civil rebellion after prayers on Friday, February 4, to call for a peaceful “2011 Syrian revolution” to end what they say is corruption and tyranny. The online activists said they were not against President Bashir al-Assad “as a person, but against 'monocracy,’ corruption, and tyranny, and the fact the your family and friends have grabbed riches.” The group had about 9,000 members by this time.
”You are like the youth of Tunisia and Egypt. We do not want a violent revolution but a peaceful uprising.... Raise your voice in a peaceful and civilized manner, because freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution and the law,” said a statement translated via Agence-France Presse.
10:54 a.m. The U.K. Foreign Office confirms that it will send a Boeing 757 to bring British citizens out of Egypt on Wednesday, CNN reports. The flight will cost about $500 per person.
10:40 a.m. Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s antiquities minister, speaks on CNN about the looting of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. “They [the looters] were looking for gold,” Hawass said, but they couldn’t find it because the museum was dark. The looters threw objects on the ground, but nothing was stolen, Hawass said, because young people and the Egyptian army caught the looters when they were leaving the museum. “We opened the museum yesterday,” Hawass said. All 24 museums in Egypt are completely safe, as are the pyramids and the monuments, which were also defended by the young people, he added.
10:30 a.m. Al Jazeera reports on the size of demonstrations currently taking place all over Egypt. Some 250,000 people are protesting in Sinai and there’s more unrest in Suez, Mansoura, and Damanhour. Hundreds of thousands have gathered in Alexandria, where the hospitals are overloaded, Al Jazeera said.
10:26 a.m. The State Department confirms that the U.S. asked former Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner to travel there and meet with officials. "The U.S. Government asked him to go. As someone with deep experience in the region, he is meeting with Egyptian officials and providing his assessment," the department said in a statement.
10:23 a.m. U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey met with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei today, CNN reports, citing the Al Arabiya news network.
10:20 a.m. NJ's Megan Scully reports that Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., reiterated his message during a hearing on Iraq that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his son must address Egypt and make clear that neither will be candidates for office. Kerry added that the president must put together a "caretaker governance" to transition Egypt to a new government. "We are witnessing an historic moment in the Middle East," Kerry said.
9:40 a.m. A recent internal test by a federally funded broadcaster shows that the U.S. government has the power to bypass foreign Internet censors by feeding news over a special e-mail system, Aliya Sternstein reports. How that capability might affect events in Egypt, where leaders have cut off Internet services despite appeals by the Obama administration to restore them, remains unclear, Nextgov.com reported.
Meanwhile, Google announced Monday that it has worked with Twitter to post tweets from those cut off from the Internet in Egypt. Those who want to tweet a message can call one of three phone numbers and leave a message that will be published using the hashtag #egypt.
9:15 a.m. Jordan's King Abdullah II has charged his new prime minister, Marouf al-Bakhit, to "undertake quick and tangible steps for real political reforms, which reflect our vision for comprehensive modernization and development in Jordan," according to a statement from the Royal Palace. Economic reform is a “necessity to provide a better life for our people," the statement said, "but we won't be able to attain that without real political reforms, which must increase popular participation in the decision-making."
9:10 a.m. In other pro-democracy news from the Middle East, the Palestinian government in the West Bank says it will hold municipal elections "as soon as possible," the Associated Press reports. The Palestinian Authority has not held elections since 2006.
9:05 a.m. The State Department ordered the departure from Egypt of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and their families. From their press release:
On February 1, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. Government personnel and their families from Egypt in light of recent events. The Department of State will continue to facilitate the evacuation of U.S. citizens who require assistance. Cairo airport is open and operating, but flights may be disrupted and transport to the airport may be disrupted due to the protests. U.S. citizens in Egypt who require assistance, or those who are concerned that their U.S. citizen loved one in Egypt may require assistance, should contact the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo at: EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov, or at 1-202-501-4444. Please follow the directions on the Embassy website for all other consular inquiries.
9:00 a.m. Standard & Poor’s has joined ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch in recalibrating its assessment of Egypt’s assets. S&P downgraded Egypt’s debt by a notch this morning, saying it could cut the rating even more within three months if the crisis continues. Fitch shifted Egypt’s outlook from stable to negative last week, and Moody’s, which also posted a negative outlook, cut the country’s sovereign rating from Ba1 to Ba2 on Monday morning.
8:50 a.m. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney weighed in on the Obama administration's approach to unrest in Egypt on ABC's Good Morning America, saying officials got off to a "rocky start." He criticized early statements from administration officials as "misguided," but agreed with their approach now.
"I think what the United States has to do is make it very clear to the people of Egypt that we stand with the voices of democracy and freedom and we also have to communicate," he said. "I think, as the administration has, that we would like to see a transition to a permanent democracy."
And while he said he believes Mubarak should step aside, he also said, "I don't know I would say to the president you should call for Mubarak's resignation."
8:45 a.m. The Obama administration has sent former U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner to Egypt, CNN reports. He is going as a private citizen, but will speak with officials while there. "As someone with deep experience in the region, he is meeting with Egyptian officials and providing his assessment," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
8:30 a.m. President Hosni Mubarak made his first public offer to discuss reforms with opposition groups today, but has been rebuffed. Opposition parties are not willing to negotiate as long as he is in power, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The newspaper also says that the White House "sees no scenario in which Mr. Mubarak remains in power for long."
8:25 a.m. From National Journal’s David Beard: Jordan’s new prime minister, Marouf al-Bakhit, held that position from 2005 to 2007. He is a retired army major general and served as national security chief, as well as ambassador to Israel. Al-Bakhit has a master’s in management from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. in war studies from King’s College London.
8:20 a.m. More on Sen. John Kerry's op-ed in The New York Times from National Journal's Sara Sorcher.
8:10 a.m. If the police's job is to serve and protect, then a portion of Egypt's force has failed to do its job. Unless, of course, they were just working to serve and protect President Hosni Mubarak. Human Rights Watch has confirmed several reports of undercover police officers loyal to Mubarak looting and committing acts of violence. Their purported goal, The Washington Post reports, was to increase fears of instability among the protesters.
8 a.m. From USA Today: Jordan's King Abdullah II has dismissed his government and appointed a new prime minister, Al-Jazeera reports. The network says the Jordanian government resigned amid protests in the country.
7:55 a.m. Oil prices surged above $100 on Monday for the first time since October 2008. While they still hover above that mark, they have gone down slightly. The high yesterday for Brent crude was just above $101. The price has since slid 48 cents to $100.54 today.
7:36 a.m. By early afternoon, the mood in Tahrir Square in Cairo is "ebullient,’’ reports NPR. Al-Jazeera says more than 100,000 people are in the crowd, and the military is providing security but doing nothing to discourage the protests.
7:30 a.m. There are still thousands of foreigners in Egypt who want nothing to do with the protests. Reuters reports that foreign countries have stepped up their efforts to evacuate their citizens from Cairo.
7:20 a.m. No Internet? No problem. With the last commercial Internet provider in Egypt shut down, Google has come up with an innovative way to help keep Twitter updates from the country alive. Egyptians can now call a number provided by Google, leave a voicemail, and it will automatically be tweeted with the hashtag #egypt.
7:10 a.m. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., wrote in The New York Times today that the best outcome for Egypt requires President Hosni Mubarak to end his rule. "President Hosni Mubarak must accept that the stability of his country hinges on his willingness to step aside gracefully to make way for a new political structure," he writes.
Kerry calls Mubarak a "great nationalist" but said it wasn't enough to just pledge fair elections. For elections to really be fair, Kerry argues, neither Mubarak nor his son should be in the running.
7:05 a.m. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says that Iran supports the protesters in Egypt, USA Today reports. "Popular protests and movements in North African countries including in Egypt show necessity of an overhaul in the region and putting an end to dictatorial rules," he says.
6:55 a.m. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay welcomed the army's decision not to use force on protesters but said past instances of excess violence by the military need to be examined.
"I urge the Egyptian authorities to ensure police and other security forces scrupulously avoid excessive use of force, and there needs to be a full investigation into the role of security forces in the violence that occurred over the past few days," Pillay said in a statement, according to CNN.
Pillay's statement suggested that there may be as many as 300 deaths have resulted from the protests, though that number is yet to be confirmed. According to Reuters, there have been at least 140 people killed.
6:30 a.m. Protesters have at least one less thing to worry about as of Monday night. The army announced that it would not use force against the opposition, saying that Egyptians had "legitimate" demands for democratic reforms.
9:50 a.m. The first plane taking Americans out of Egypt evacuated a handful of U.S. citizens today, ABC News reports. Five more of these plans are currently being filled.
9:35 a.m. With the turmoil in Egypt sure to have a ripple effect on diplomacy in the Middle East and the rest of the world, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called for a mass meeting of U.S. ambassadors, the Associated Press reports.
The meeting will reportedly be held today at the State Department and will include envoys from almost all of the U.S. embassies in more than 180 countries. Officials say that this is the first time such a meeting has been held.
The meeting is about more than just the situation in Egypt, but AP says that Clinton will take the time to meet with front-line countries to talk about the situation on the ground.
9:25 a.m. Former President Carter said Sunday that he believed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "would have to leave."
“This is the most profound situation in the Middle East since I left office,” Carter said to about 300 people at a Baptist church in Georgia where he regularly teaches Sunday school, according to the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer.
Carter helped broker the historic peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1978.
9:05 a.m.The State Department is demanding the release of six detained Al-Jazeera journalists who were arrested today by Egyptian authorities.
“We are concerned by the shutdown of #Al-Jazeera in #Egypt and arrest of its correspondents. Egypt must be open and the reporters released,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley tweeted this morning.
With the country in a state of turmoil as protesters demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian government has clamped down on media within the country. Al-Jazeera, which played a major role in getting video of the demonstrations sent worldwide, was taken off the air on Sunday. Today, six journalists who work for the network were arrested and had their cameras confiscated.
In a tweet, Egypt-based correspondent Dan Nolan wrote: "4 soldiers entered room took our camera. [We are] under military arrest.''
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has urged Mubarak, whose government gets more than $1 billion in U.S. aid each year, to partner with civil society, not repress it.
At least 74 people have been killed in the protests to date and 2,000 have been wounded, Reuters has calculated from medical sources, hospitals and witnesses.