Monday, February 7, 2011

Egyptian opposition sees no reason to be happy about talks with Suleiman

Negiotating the after-Mubarak under the portrait of Mubarak

Various Egyptian opposition groups on Sunday said that they were not at all satisfied with the results of  talks between them and the government, headed by vice-president Omar Suleiman on Sunday. Suleiman again refused demands that Mubarak step down, but reportedly agreed to some reforms, like setting up a committee that would introduce changes to the constitution and measures like releasing prisoners of the past two weeks, introducing press freedom and lifting the state of emergency somewhere soon in the future,
But several opposition figures afterwards criticized the talks. Mohammed ElBaradei of the Movement for Change said that he had not been invited and that the talks lacked credibility.'The process is opaque. Nobody knows who is talking to whom at this stage. It's managed by Vice-President Suleiman. It is all managed by the military and that is part of the problem,'. he said. A  member of ElBaradei's group, Mustafa Naggar, who did attendthe talks with Suleiman, said they had been 'positive' but did not go far enough. 'We demanded a full democratic transformation and not partial reforms,' Naggar said. 'But Suleiman responded: 'Democracy comes in stages and I am keen that there is a peaceful transitional period and civilian rule.'
 The Muslim Brotherhood, which mainly went to the talks to test the sincerity of Suleiman, as it had stated beforehand, said afterwards that it was not at all satisfied. 'We cannot call it talks or negotiations,'  Muslim Brothethood representative Abdul Moneim Abul-Futuh said. Abul Futuh reiterated that the MB held on to its demand that Mubarak step down first. Also he said that he 'did not see any seriousness so far' and that the government failed to take concrete measures. 'If they were serious, they would have dissolved the parliament (which was elected in fraudulent elections) and abandoned the emergency law.'
The leaders of various youth groups gave a press conferenece in which they said that they refuse talks under these circumstances altogether.The group, which includes the 6 April protest movement, Young People for Justice and Freedom and the Muslim Brotherhood's youth wing, said that the activists who met with newly-appointed Vice-President Omar Suleiman on Sunday did not represent them or those now in Tahrir Square.
“The people who negotiated with Suleiman only represent themselves. All the youths organizations are united in their position--no negotiations until Mubarak’s departure,” said 6 April leader Ahmed Maher.
Yasser al-Hawary, a meber of Young People for Justice and Freedom who attended the meeting with Suleiman, said he was only representing himself at the meeting. He said that the activists who were talking alks with Sulleiman were not negotiating, but merely conveying their list of demands. Al-Hawary said that Suleiman at Sunday's meeting--in the presence of leading brotherhood member Saad al-Katatney and "Wise Men" committee member Naguib Sawiris - agreed to ensure the safety of the protesters in Tahrir Square and to stop the media campaigns against, the protesters.
Activist Shady al-Ghazaly Harb said  that the agreement reached by those opposition representatives who met with Suleiman failed to meet demonstrators' minimum demands.
Activists, meanwhile, maintain that no one has the right to convince those now in Tahrir to leave--except through the realization of their demand for Mubarak's resignation. “The millions in the square don’t belong to anyone. If any organization withdrew from the streets right now, it would be their loss,” says one activist.
Along with Mubarak's ouster, activists' primary demands are the abolition of Egypt's longstanding Emergency Law and the dissolution of parliament. “Someone who is responsible for killing 300 people and hurting another 3500 can’t stay in power,” said activist Zyad al-Eleimy. “There are now 4000 families who have a personal vendetta against the regime. Mubarak must leave to preserve national stability."
The groups of young people called for the formation of a "National Salvation Front" and of a judicial committee to investigate last week’s security crisis, which led to the death and injury of thousands of protesters. They also demand that the army protect protesters in Tahrir Square from attacks by pro-regime thugs.

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