Egypt Government Talks to Opposition

Egypt Government Talks to Opposition

Egypt’s vice president spoke with many opposition factions, including the officially banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Senior Brotherhood leader Mohammed Mursi stated that the MB has not changed its stance for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 years in power.

This was the first known discussions in years between the Egyptian government and the Brotherhood, which provides social services to the country’s poor and whose members serve in parliament as independents.

Thousands of anti-government protestors continue to occupy Cairo’s Tahrir Square, vowing to remain until Mubarak quits, and defying government appeals to clear the area and return to work.  Many protesters believe the government will try to wear down their movement by enacting only superficial democratic reforms.

 Egypt’s state news agency says the groups that participated in Sunday’s talks agreed to set up a committee including judiciary members and political figures to study proposed constitutional amendments on who can run for the presidency. Many see this as simply buying time for the regime, which has no intention of making real reforms.

Mubarak responded to the protests by promising to step down after a presidential election due in September.  In another apparent gesture toward the protesters, members of the ruling National Democratic Party’s executive committee resigned Saturday, including Mr. Mubarak’s son, Gamal.  However, the focal point of the protests is the removal of the Egyptian president and he remains the party’s head.

Anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square rejected the NDP resignations calling it a meaningless gesture. A hard core of protesters backed by a broad popular movement which has brought millions out on the streets, says they are determined to stay in Tahrir square until Mubarak gives up and leaves.