Obama spoke Tuesday about two hours after after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he would not run in presidential elections scheduled for September, and would prepare for a peaceful handing over of power to his successor.
It was not clear from Obama's statement whether this was sufficient, or if he wanted Mubarak to step down sooner. Opposition groups have said that Mubarak must step down now.
"An orderly transition must be meaningful, must be peaceful and must begin now," Obama said. "It shouldd include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties."
Obama said he had spoken to Mubarak after the Egyptian president's address.
"He recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place," he said.
Obama said it was not the role of outside governments to determine what happens next in Egypt, but stressed that he is "committged to a partnership" with Egypt.