The Obama administration joined other Western nations Saturday in endorsing embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's gradual exit from power and, in a shift, urged Egyptians to back the power transition Mubarak and his closest advisers have set in motion.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a security conference, touted the transition concept, a strategy that tens of thousands of Egyptian protesters in Cairo appear to reject in favor Mubarak's immediate ouster.
"I think it's important to support the transition process announced by the Egyptian government, actually headed by now-Vice President Omar Suleiman," Clinton said. "That is what we are supporting, and hope to see it move as orderly but as expeditiously as possible, under the circumstances."
At the White House, administration officials said President Barack Obama was briefed Saturday on the latest situation in Egypt, including the resignations of senior officials of Egypt's National Democratic Party, among them Mubarak's son, Gamal.
Administration officials offered a diplomatic response to the resignations.
"As the president has repeatedly said, Egyptians will be the ones that decide how this transition occurs," National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor said Saturday. "We welcome any step that provides credibility to that process."
But an administration official, who asked not to be identified to speak more freely, added: "We view this as a positive step toward the political change that will be necessary, and look forward to additional steps."..."