Vice President Joe Biden said today “is a pivotal moment in history – it’s a pivotal moment not only in Mideast history but in history, I would argue.”
The vice president was speaking before a crowd of students at the University of Louisville as part of the McConnell Center's spring lecture series.
“You may remember that all this began when a fruit vendor in Tunisia,” -- protesting that nation’s “corrupt government and stagnant economy -- literally set himself on fire,” the vice president said, “and in doing so ignited the passions of millions and millions of people throughout that region. Word spread across national boundaries and movements emerged, led by people no older than some of the students in this room, using some of the same social media tools that the students in this room, many of you, use.”
He said “what is at stake in Egypt and across the Mideast is not just about Egypt alone. It will not just touch Egypt.”
Biden reiterated the administration’s “set of core principles”: the unacceptability of “violence and intimidation against peaceful demonstrators”; that the “universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected and their aspirations must be met”; and that “the transition taking place must be an irreversible change on a negotiated path towards democracy.”
“Even in this contentious political climate in which we work, on this issue, the United States has largely spoken with one voice, Democrats and Republicans alike,” Biden said. “This unity has been important and it will be even more important in the delicate and fateful days ahead.”