These protests underscore that there are deep grievances within Egyptian society, and the Egyptian government needs to understand that violence will not make these grievances go away.
As President Obama said yesterday, reform is absolutely critical to the well-being of Egypt. Egypt has long been an important partner of the United States on a range of regional issues. As a partner, we strongly believe that the Egyptian government needs to engage immediately with the Egyptian people in implementing needed economic, political and social reforms. We continue to raise with the Egyptian government, as we do with other governments in the region, the imperative for reform and greater openness and participation, to provide a better future for all. We want to partner with the Egyptian people and their government to realize their aspirations to live in a democratic society that respects basic human rights.
When I was recently in the region, I met with a wide range of civil society groups, and I heard from them about ideas aimed at improving their countries. The people of the Middle East - like people everywhere - are seeking a chance to contribute and to have a role in the decisions that will shape their lives. As I said in Doha, leaders need to respond to these aspirations to build a better future, and they need to view civil society as a partner, not a threat.