Egyptian VP agrees to some democratic reforms

By David Edwards
Sunday, February 6, 2011 11:16 EDT
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In a meeting with opposition leaders Sunday, the Egyptian vice president gave in to several demands but stopped short of agreeing to the immediate departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Vice President Omar Suleiman “agreed to allow freedom of the press, to release those detained since anti-government protests began nearly two weeks ago and to lift the country’s hated emergency laws when security permits,” according the Associated Press.

Vice President Omar Suleiman endorsed a plan with the opposition to set up a committee of judiciary and political figures to study proposed constitutional reforms 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 anti-government protests, which have drawn hundreds of thousands at the biggest rallies. The government agreed not to hamper freedom of press and not to interfere with text messaging and Internet.

All of the concessions were designed to appease opposition forces who have said they will not back down until Mubarak leaves office.

The Egyptian president announced last week that he would retire in September.

On Saturday, US President Barack Obama called “an orderly, peaceful transition, beginning now.”

The comments came as the United States distanced itself from a one-time envoy’s suggestion that President Mubarak should remain in office during a transition.

Frank Wisner, an influential retired diplomat and former US ambassador to Egypt who met with Mubarak at Obama’s request this week, “was speaking for himself and not for the US government,” a senior Obama administration official said in Washington.

Wisner called Mubarak an “old friend” of the United States, and said he “must stay in office in order to steer those changes through.”

“President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical,” Wisner told the Munich Security Conference via video link.

“Frank Wisner was speaking as a private citizen … analyst … not as a representative of the US government,” the US official said on condition of anonymity.

This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Feb. 6, 2011.

Watch this video on iPhone/iPad

– with AFP

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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  • DriveBy

    Let’s hope the people of Egypt buy into this nonsense…. for US’s sake.

  • Guest

    Look at his eyes. He’s a torturer, same as Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. By not going after them as war criminals, Obama becomes one, too. We should believe what he says? NOT!

  • Anonymous

    Obomber the Peace Laureate has just announced his new crack team to form a democracy plan for Egypt’s new government! The crack team consists of David Blaine, David Copperfield and none other than Chris Angel the Mind Freak himself! Way to go Oblahblah!

  • Anonymous

    …but they will continue to drag this process out so that Mubarak can save face (and so our other dictators in the area won’t get nervous that we could pull the rug out from under them), because after all, Mubarak’s ego is really more important than the will of millions of Egyptian citizens, wouldn’t you say??

    Just keep focusing on Mubarak’s net worth of $70 Billion (with a “B”) That’s more than Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. Where do you suppose he got all that money???

  • Anonymous

    Young Egyptians and Democratic protester contingents, you have come too far to buy into this. Mubarak will still be calling the shots from behind the curtain and once you give ground there will be no assurance of the revisional government you seek.

    You have shown Mubarak the equivalent of our liberators at the Boston Tea Party and shed blood for your cause. Don’t relent now.

    The world is with you and it is behind you!

  • Anonymous

    As someone noted in another thread, Mubarak needs time to move his billions of ill gotten gains out of the country. If he was immediately deposed, he’d not be able to take all his money with him.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty stupid to let the CIA Asset and torture facilitator be in charge “for a while”.. proof? He’ll lift the “emergency laws” when he feels ‘security’ allows for it. He sounds every bit the corrupt despot as the goon he’s replacing.

  • Anonymous

    That’s because they are fronts for the people who run things. The military.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like we are still pulling the strings. Who do the Egyptians want?

  • Anonymous

    Suleiman, no doubt the reason why Egyptians rebelled. It was all an elaborate plot on their part to him as prez.

  • Anonymous

    His money is spread all over the world. The UK and US being some of his favorite investment sites.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Zentrails/100001475536421 Bob Zentrails

    That’s really BIG of him.

    And “Frank Wisner was speaking as a private citizen”

    Private IDIOT more like.
    If you ain’t afer us you’re agin us.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KLF5SUA5RDYXG54WWF5SHMVRAI X

    I can’t believe this is really happening. Barack Obama is replacing Hosni Mubarak with his Middle Eastern torture Tsar. The Egyptians were far better off with Mubarak. Worse yet, American foreign policy is now being decided by whichever war criminal can best keep the secrets of his fellow war criminals. Disgusting. Foreign torturers have more say about American foreign policy than do any Americans save one. This is what happens when you allow a piece of garbage like Barack Obama to put himself above the Constitution. He truly is a madman. Please don’t forget this come 2012.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    Lipservice offering the people what they supposedly had two weeks ago, coming from a billionaire torturer who has helped the USA with its abomination rendition.

    Why would the Egyptian people give up their revolution for that load of bs?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    Someone who isn’t a tyrannical puppet for the USA and Israel.

  • http://gaia-health.com/ Heidi Stevenson


  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Not so much. The military are less a part of the elite than they once were, with the exception of the few at the top. There are a lot of questions as to just how united the military remains today. At the bottom and in the middle echelons, military salaries have fallen far more than those in the rest of the labor market.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    In Egypt one must partner with an Egyptian national to do arms deals, as a former general Mubarak has been such a partner in many different deals for years where, under the constitution, he is automatically a 51% stakeholder in any such arrangement. He has long been very, very rich.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Indeed, they own properties all over the US including a string of Hyundai dealerships for example.

  • H.P. Loathecraft
  • H.P. Loathecraft

    And they are standing by it. The number is back up to over 100,000 protesters in Cairo.

    **Their resolve marked a new and uncharted stage in Egypt’s unexpected uprising. Having beaten back assaults by armies of armed police and gangs of plain-clothes toughs, the protesters said they had no intention to back down in the face of either Western support for Mr. Suleiman or the Egyptian government’s attempts to wait them out and wear them down.

    “The government played all the dirty games that they had,” said Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, a 32-year-old surgeon. “We are betting on the people.”

    A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, Gamal Nassar, said the huge and sometimes violent demonstrations that have paralyzed Cairo for almost two weeks, reverberating around the Middle East, would continue “until the political path can have a role in achieving the aspirations of the protesters” — an apparent reference to their goal of removing Mr. Mubarak.

    See link in my reply above.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard the opposite but we’ll see.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Its a mixed bag. On the other hand, many of the arrests of journalists were accomplished by military intelligence. So it depends on which segment. The military is an economy unto itself like China’s PLA and the Iranian Republican Guard. They have vast holdings and dominate in manufacturing and other sectors so the military elites are undoubtedly part of the conservative elite, ergo, Mubarak’s buddies.

    Edit: In response to gerry 1230′s comment above.

  • Anonymous

    And real estate & shops in DC and Rodeo Drive among other exclusive locales.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RepublicConstitution?feature=mhum TruthRegimes

    The VP needs to agree to get the heck out and hand power over to the people and a democratic election process. http://republicconstitution.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    It’s a good start. Egyptians can now order gravy with their fries.

  • Anonymous