Muburak announces reform committees

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak looks on during his meeting with Emirates foreign minister, not pictured, at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. The meeting is the first show for Mubarak in front of international media following the Jan. 28, countrywide protests. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

In its latest effort to defuse public anger amid mass protests, embattled President Hosni Mubarak’s regime set up a committee Tuesday to recommend constitutional changes that would relax presidential eligibility rules and impose term limits.

Mubarak’s decrees were announced on state television by Vice President Omar Suleiman, who also said that Mubarak had decreed the creation of a separate committee to monitor the implementation of all proposed reforms. The two committees would start working immediately, but Suleiman did not give details about who would sit on the panels or how they would be chosen.

The government has promised several concessions since an uprising began two weeks ago but so far they have fallen short of protesters’ demands that Mubarak step down immediately instead of staying on through September elections. Tuesday’s decision was the first concrete step taken by the longtime authoritarian ruler to implement promised reforms.

Mubarak also ordered a probe into clashes last week between the protesters and supporters of the president. The committee would refer its findings to the attorney-general, Suleiman said.

“The youth of Egypt deserve national appreciation,” he quoted the president as saying. “They should not be detained, harassed or denied their freedom of expression.”

Thousands of protesters, meanwhile, remained camped out in the central Tahrir Square, many hoping for an appearance by Google Inc. executive Wael Ghonim, who has emerged as a rallying point after he was released Monday after 12 days in custody.

About 90,000 people have joined a Facebook group nominating Ghonim to be their spokesman. Many demonstrators reject a group of officially sanctioned and traditional Egyptian opposition groups that have been negotiating with the government on their behalf in recent days.

Some on the square chanted “Wael Ghonim is coming today,” although his planned afternoon appearance couldn’t immediately be confirmed.

Tuesday’s announcement came two days after Suleiman met for the first time with representatives of opposition groups, including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood — the country’s largest and best organized opposition group — to debate a way out of the ongoing political crisis.

The fundamentalist Islamic group issued a statement before Suleiman’s announcement Tuesday calling the reforms proposed so far as “partial” and insisting that Mubarak must go to ease what it called the anger felt by Egyptians who face widespread poverty and government repression.

The Brotherhood also accused pro-Mubarak thugs of detaining protesters, including Brotherhood supporters, and handing them over to the army’s military police who torture them.

“We call on the military, which we love and respect, to refrain from these malicious acts,” said the statement.

The protesters have said they would not enter negotiations with the regime before Mubarak’s departure. Mubarak insists that he intends to serve the remainder of his current, six-year term, which expires in September, and that he would die in Egypt, thus rejecting any suggestion that he should leave the country.

The president went on with official business Tuesday, receiving the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates. The official Middle East News Agency said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan delivered a message from the UAE’s president but gave no further details.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

Comments

  1. b mcclellan

    Come and gatt, your international fluff.
    Hosni has the launch codes for Glenn Becks head !
    Mubarak is runnin on bush beans and ronnie ray,
    a little bit of chutzpah, with one eye cocked to Elbe.

  2. Carl Nemo

    It’s amazing how an 82 year old man who’s soon to ‘beam up’ so to speak is so obsessed with maintaing his grip on a nation.

    Ol’ Hosni is reputedly the richest man on earth, thanks to American tax slaves providing ‘aid’ to his nation courtesy of our resident crimpols in D.C. and their obsession with buying allies at any price to stabilize regions and to maintain order over “Empire Americanus”.

    Hosni has a reported worth of 70 billion dollars…!? He surely didn’t earn this money due to his business acumen. He probably muscled Egyptian bankers et al. to ‘invest’ his ill-gotten lucre in U.S. aid multiplying it many times over. Of course they best play ball or end up in an Egyptian prison or face down in the Nile as croc food.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Hosni-Mubarak-richest-man-in-world–Report/747529

    Everywhere on earth our government is engaged in meddling, our corrupt reps are pitching our tax-debt dollars out. Seemingly it won’t end until there’s both rioting and blood in the streets across this nation no different than Egypt and other places on earth soon to go ballistic due to the oppression people suffer at the hands of these synthesized “monster puppets”.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • griff

      “It’s amazing how an 82 year old man who’s soon to ‘beam up’ so to speak is so obsessed with maintaing his grip on a nation. ”

      An old saying about old dogs and new tricks comes to mind.