Appealing to the "new generation" in Egypt, President Obama applauded the protesters who succeeded Friday in ousting Hosni Mubarak following days of demonstrations -- saying they have "inspired" Americans with their nonviolent activism and vowing that the two countries will remain partners.
Obama cautioned that there will be "difficult days ahead" but expressed confidence that the Egyptian people will achieve a true democracy "peacefully." As his administration has done for the past two weeks, he called for a "credible" transition that ensures free elections and protects the rights of Egyptians.
"The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same," Obama said.
Following days of uncertainty regarding Mubarak's plans, the president compared the outcome Friday to other seminal changes of the past century, including India's rise against the British and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Though Mubarak has been a key U.S. ally for decades, Obama did not mention Mubarak by name in his remarks. He cast the power shift as the manifestation of ordinary Egyptians' "boundless aspirations" for a better country and government.
"Egyptians have inspired us," he said. "For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing ... that bent the arc of history toward justice once more."