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Press Secretary Gibbs on Egypt, Violence & Journalists

Summary: 
During his gaggle with the press aboard Air Force One, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs opens the session with pointed remarks about recent developments in Egypt.

During his gaggle with the press this morning aboard Air Force One, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs opened the session with pointed remarks about recent developments in Egypt:

MR. GIBBS:  Let me -- if I can, let me just start with a few thoughts.  I want to reiterate our administration and our country’s strong condemnation of the violence and the images that we’ve seen over the past many hours.

The government of Egypt has to ensure that peaceful protests can take place.  We have obviously seen the remarks of the Prime Minister today and hope that his acknowledgment that anybody that is involved in this will be held accountable is something that the government is serious about.

I want to say a word for a second on the systematic targeting of journalists in Egypt.  This also is completely and totally unacceptable.  Any journalist that has been detained should be released immediately.  I think we need to be clear that the world is watching the actions that are taking place right now in Egypt.  And I’ll reiterate again that the actions of targeting journalists, that is unacceptable, and that those journalists should be, if they are detained, released immediately.  I know the President has been briefed on this as part of the daily briefing this morning. 

Next, I would like to again reiterate that the -- as we have said all along -- that the time for the transition in Egypt is now, and it is important that we all begin to see meaningful steps toward that transition and that negotiations take place between the government and a broadly based group of members of the opposition as we work through, as I said, the transition toward free and fair elections.