Sunday, February 6, 2011

Opposition meets with Suleiman, Muslim Brotherhood: not satisfied

'A-Hilal wal-Salib, dod al-qattel wal-t'adhib' (the halve moon and the cross against murder and torture) was one of the (many) slogans during the demonstrations in Egypt. On Sunday cross and halve moon were together leading a prayer at Tahrir: a priest with a bible next to an imam. 

Egypt's vice president Omar Suleiman met a representation of major opposition groups, including th Muslim Brotherhood, for the first time Sunday. Suleiman refused their main demand, that president Mubarak step down. He agreed, however, to allow freedom of the press, to release those detained since anti-government protests began, and to lift the country's emergency laws when security permits.
Suleiman also agreed to set up a committee of judiciary and political figures to study proposed constitutional amendments that would allow more candidates to run for president and impose term limits on the presidency, the state news agency reported. The committee was given until the first week of March to finish the tasks.
The regime also pledged not to harass those participating in the anti-government protests,  to allow  freedom of the press and not to interfere with text messaging and Internet, AP reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which had earlier refused to negotiate with Suleiman, on Sunday changed its mind and decided to take part 'in order to test the seriousness of the officials and their readiness to respond to the demands of the people', the leader of the Brotherhood,  Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, said in a statement. Badie said that the MB would persist regarding the demands that President Mubarak step down, that officials responsible for the bloodshed during the protests will be prosecuted, that the parliament will be dissolved  and that a transitional government will be formed. The Brotherhood agreed to take part in the talks only after a number of prominent figures and representatives from opposition parties already had met Suleiman on Saturday. Also they demanded in vain that Mubarak leave his post.
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) played down the opposition's talks with Suleiman, saying that it is not prepared to drop its central demand of calling for Mubarak to resign as president."We cannot call it talks or negotiations. The Muslim Brotherhood went with a key condition that cannot be abandoned ... that he [Mubarak] needs to step down in order to usher in a democratic phase," Abdul Moneim Abul-Futuh, a member of the MB, told Al Jazeera. He said he "did not see any ... seriousness so far. They [the government] have failed to take concrete measurement on the ground. "If they were serious, the parliament would have been dissolved, also a presidential decree ending the emergency law".
He said that articles 77, 78 and 88 of the constitution should also have been amended by now.
Abul-Futuh was referring to an article of the constitution covering presidential elections, which now effectively puts Mubarak's governing NDP party in a position to choose the next president, and another that allows the president to run for unlimited presidential terms.
One of the reasons the opposition agreed to meet Suleiman is that there is fear that the Egyptians are getting tired of te protests which cripple the suply of food and are paralyzing normal life. Banks went open again on Sunday for the fist time in more than a week. long loines of people were standing in front to withdraw money. Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the opposition leaders said, that the opposition is considering to continue the protest on a frequency of once in two days.   

Five yar old leads demo in Alexandria

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