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Timeline: The changing U.S. reaction to Egypt's crisis
(Reuters) - Following is a timeline of public comments by President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials over the course of the uprising in Egypt.
Day 18 - Friday, February 11
Obama says President Hosni Mubarak's decision to step down does not mark the end of Egypt's transition but a beginning. "I am sure there will be difficult days ahead and many questions remain unanswered," Obama says, while calling on the Egyptian military to lay out a clear path for free and fair elections.
Day 17 -- Thursday, February 10:
* Obama says Mubarak's televised address, in which he hands over power to his vice president but refuses to step down, is not enough to meet the demands of protesters clamoring for democratic change.
* Mubarak's statement appears to take the Obama administration by surprise. Earlier, CIA Director Leon Panetta told a congressional hearing there was a strong likelihood the Egyptian leader would step down that evening.
Day 16 -- Wednesday, February 9:
* After appearing to throw its support behind a transition process led by Mubarak's new vice president, Omar Suleiman, Washington shows irritation, saying it has still not seen "real, concrete" reforms.
* The White House steps up pressure on Suleiman after coming under fire for not calling on Mubarak to step down immediately.
Day 15 -- Tuesday, February 8:
* Vice President Joe Biden speaks again by telephone to Suleiman, stressing U.S. support "for an orderly transition in Egypt that is prompt, meaningful, peaceful, and legitimate."
* Washington reiterates its call for the Egyptian government to stop harassing protesters and journalists and to immediately repeal an emergency law.
* U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Egypt's military has behaved in "an exemplary fashion" by standing largely on the sidelines during the demonstrations.
Day 14 -- Monday, February 7:
* "Obviously, Egypt has to negotiate a path and they're making progress," Obama says.
* State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, acknowledging doubts about the credibility of the transition process, says: "Our advice would be: test the seriousness of the government and those who are participating to see if it can deliver."
* "The United States doesn't pick leaders of other countries," says White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
Day 13 -- Sunday, February 6:
* Obama tells Fox News Egypt "is not going to go back to what it was" and says he is confident an orderly transition will produce a government that will remain a U.S. partner.
* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Mubarak responded seriously to U.S. calls for constitutional change, chiefly through his pledge not to run for president again. She says she will not "prejudge" a bid by the Muslim Brotherhood to enter Egypt's political process.
Day 12 -- Saturday, February 5:
* Clinton says the United States backs a transition process led by Suleiman, and that it must be given time to mature.
* Obama's envoy in the crisis, Frank Wisner, says it is critical that Mubarak stays in power to manage the transition.
* The State Department and White House quickly disavow his comments, saying he spoke in a private capacity.
Day 11 -- Friday, February 4:
-- The White House calls for "concrete steps" toward an orderly transition but again stops short of demanding Mubarak's immediate resignation.
* "Having made that psychological break, that decision that he will not be running again, I think the most important thing for him to ask himself ... is how do we make the transition effective, lasting and legitimate," Obama says. "And my hope is ... that he will end up making the right decision."
Day 10 -- Thursday, February 3:
* The United States condemns attacks on journalists. Clinton calls on the Egyptian government and opposition "to begin immediately serious negotiations on a peaceful and orderly transition."
* Republican Senator John McCain suggests the United States should consider suspending aid to Egypt's military. The U.S. Senate passes a resolution calling on Mubarak to transfer power to a caretaker government.
Day 9 -- Wednesday, February 2:
* The White House condemns the violence in Egypt and says it is concerned about attacks on peaceful demonstrators.
* U.S. officials are vague on whether Obama's call for an immediate transition of power means the United States wants Mubarak to step down before September elections.
Day 8 -- Tuesday, February 1:
* The State Department orders the departure from Egypt of non-essential U.S. government personnel and their families.
* Obama says he spoke with Mubarak after the Egyptian leader pledged not to seek re-election. He says he told Mubarak that "an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now."
Day 7 -- Monday, January 31:
-- Obama dispatches Wisner, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt, to tell Mubarak he must prepare for an "orderly transition" of power.
* Publicly, the White House continues to call for democratic reforms but will not be drawn on Mubarak's fate.
Day 6 -- Sunday, January 30:
* Clinton dodges questions in television talk shows about whether Mubarak should resign but brings the term "orderly transition" into the official U.S. message for the first time.
Day 5 -- Saturday, January 29:
* After Mubarak makes Suleiman vice president, State Department spokesman Crowley tweets that the Egyptian leader "can't reshuffle the deck and then stand pat."
Day 4 -- Friday, January 28:
* The White House says the United States will review $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt. Officials later say no such review is planned.
* Obama speaks with Mubarak after the Egyptian president calls for a national dialogue to avoid chaos. Obama says he urged Mubarak to undertake sweeping reforms "to meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people."
Day 3 -- Thursday, January 27:
* As protests spread, Biden calls Mubarak an ally on Middle East peace efforts and says: "I would not refer to him as a dictator."
Day 2 -- Wednesday, January 26:
* Obama does not mention Egypt in prepared remarks during a visit to Wisconsin as Egyptian police fight with thousands of people defying a government ban on protests.
Day 1 -- Tuesday, January 25:
* Protests begin in Egypt on the day Obama gives his State of the Union address to Congress. Obama does not mention Egypt but does refer to protests in Tunisia and says the United States "supports the democratic aspirations of all people."
* Clinton gives the first high-level U.S. response, saying, "Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people."
(Compiled by Tabassum Zakaria, Andrew Quinn, John O'Callaghan and Ross Colvin in Washington and David Cutler in London; Editing by Frances Kerry and Christopher Wilson)
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