ElBaradei on Egypt gov't negotiations: Process 'opaque'

Egyptian opposition figure tells NBC he wasn't invited to take part in talks, says "nobody knows who is talking to whom at this stage."

By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 7, 2011 10:42
2 minute read.
Mohamed ElBaradei speaking in Cairo's Tahrir Sq.

Mohamed ElBaradei speaking bullhorn 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei on Sunday spoke out against negotiations on the future of the country's government, in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press."

"The process is opaque. Nobody knows who is talking to whom at this stage," the former UN nuclear watchdog said. He also claimed that he was not invited to join the talks. "I have not been invited to take part in the negotiations or dialogue but I've been following what is going on."

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Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman met with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups on Sunday for the first time and offered sweeping concessions, including granting press freedom and rolling back police powers in the government's latest attempt to try to end nearly two weeks of upheaval.

"It's managed by Vice President Suleiman," ElBaradei said of the negotiations. "It is all managed by the military and that is part of the problem."

Despite the concessions, the opposition leaders held firm to a demand the government rejects: that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak step down immediately. And the source of the opposition's sudden power — the youthful protesters filling Cairo's main square — said they weren't even represented at the talks on Sunday and won't negotiate until Mubarak is gone.

"None of those who attended represent us," said Khaled Abdul-Hamid, one leader of a new coalition representing at least five youth movements that organized the 13-day-old protests. "We are determined to press on until our number one demand is met" — the ouster of Mubarak.

"The regime is retreating," Abdul-Hamid told The Associated Press. "It is making more concessions every day."



At the same time, there were signs that the paralysis gripping the country since the crisis began was easing Sunday, the first day of Egypt's work week. Some schools reopened for the first time in more than a week, and so did banks — though for only three hours, with long lines outside. A night curfew remains, and tanks continue to ring the city's central square and guard government buildings, embassies and other important institutions.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in 
Egypt

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