Egypt PM begins talks with Opposition

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cairo, Feb 3 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Egypt’s new prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and vice president Omar Suleiman have started talks with the Egyptian opposition political leaders to overcome the current crisis, state television said Thursday.

Some opposition parties, participating in the rally at Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, have agreed to hold a dialogue with the country’s authorities, media reports said Thursday evening.

Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appointed civil aviation minister, Ahmed Shafiq, and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as the new prime minister and vice president, respectively, Saturday.

Mubarak urged them to start negotiations with the opposition as soon as possible to return the country to peace.

Egypt’s leading opposition figure and critic of Mubarak, Mohammed ElBaradei, has refused to hold talks with the government until the veteran president steps down.

The opposition has dismissed a pledge by Mubarak to demit his office by the end of his official term in September. They are instead demanding his immediate resignation.

Anti-government protests broke out in Egypt Jan 25.

The leaders of Germany, Britain, France, Spain, and Italy have condemned violence in Egypt and demanded a swift “transition to a broad-based government” in Cairo.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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