Egyptian regime, opposition agree on forming reform committee

Egypt`s opposition & the ruling regime entered into landmark negotiations after 13 days of protests.

Cairo: The campaign against Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak took a decisive turn Sunday as the
regime and opposition groups including the outlawed Muslim
Brotherhood agreed to form a committee to study constitutional
reform to chart a way towards a transition of power.

Egypt`s opposition groups and the ruling regime
entered into landmark negotiations today that came after 13
days of unrelenting street protests by Egyptians seeking an
end to Mubarak`s 30-year rule and a move towards a
representative government.

The first day of talks resulted in an agreement over a
the setting up of a committee comprising political and
judicial figures to study possible constitutional amendments
on putting term limits for the presidential tenures and
defining rules for who can run for the presidency, according
to the state media.

However, there is so far no confirmation on this from
the opposition camp.

This is the first time that Egypt`s ruling regime has
entered into any kind of negotiations with the Brotherhood
which has a vast organisational network in the country and is
widely expected to fill the political space in a post-Mubarak
democratic Egypt.

The committee has been asked to finish its task by the
first week of March following which the future course of
action will be decided.

However, so far there appears to be no indication that
Mubarak would step down immediately as demanded by the
thousands of protesters who have been camping at Cairo`s
Tahrir Square.

The opposition groups met Vice President Omar
Suleiman to press for their "legitimate demands", even as
central Cairo remained flooded with demonstrators who observed
a `Day of Martyrs` to honour those killed in the
anti-government unrest.

The landmark talks aimed at bringing a peaceful end to
the mass uprising came a day after the top leadership of
Egypt`s ruling National Democratic Party resigned en masse.
The top executive of the NDP, which includes Mubarak`s
son Gamal Mubarak who is head of the powerful policies
committee, resigned from the party.

According to the Brotherhood`s website, group`s senior
leaders began the talks, demanding an immediate elimination of
Emergency Law and guarantees for peaceful protests.

"We are starting a round of talks to know how serious
they are about responding to the demands of the people," said
Brotherhood spokesman Gamal Abul Nasser.

Brotherhood, which is officially banned in Egypt but
enjoys popular support, said it would drop out if demands
expressed by the protesters that President Mubarak must step
down is not met.


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