WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday he has been in close contact with Middle East leaders amid ongoing unrest in the region and emphasizes to them the need to reform and to allow peaceful protests.
"I've had a fairly consistent message to all of them. Number one, the United States believes in the right of peaceful protests and the ability of ordinary people to express their grievances to their government," Obama said at a news conference.
"It is in the interest of the entire region to reform itself," he added.
(Writing by Caren Bohan; Editing by Will Dunham)