President Barack Obama said Tuesday evening that a transition to democracy in Egypt "must begin now" and should lead to in free and fair elections.
Speaking after reigning Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced he would not seek reelection, Obama said he had called Mubarak to discuss Egypt's continuing situation as many protesters demand Mubarak's immediate resignation. According to Obama, the two leaders spokes for about 30 minutes Tuesday.
"He recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that change must take place," Obama said during a brief press conference at the White House. He further stressed that "an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now."
Obama's message to Mubarak urging him not to run again sharply contrasted with the White House's characterization of its support in a news briefing Monday.