U.S. Joins Egyptian Protesters in Criticizing Suleiman’s Offers
Posted by vmsalama on February 9, 2011
By Alaa Shahine, Vivian Salama and Maram Mazen
Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said negotiations he has opened with opposition movements are the only alternative to the “chaos” of regime change, as the government’s limited concessions drew criticism from protesters and the Obama administration.
“There will be no overthrow of the regime because this will lead to chaos, which will take the country into the unknown,” Suleiman told local media chiefs yesterday, the official Middle East News Agency reported. The talks that began this week, involving the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, “are the first way to achieve stability in the country and to get out of the current crisis peacefully.”
In Washington, the Obama administration echoed the criticism of the protesters that Suleiman isn’t responding quickly enough. The Egyptian government has yet to reach the “minimum threshold” of accomodating demands of the country’s citizens, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. Egyptian authorities must make “immediate and irreversible progress” toward a transition of power and expand the scope of negotiations, Gibbs said at today’s briefing.
Tens of thousands filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square yesterday in what may have been the largest turnout in two weeks of protests. Today’s was smaller. Another major gathering is scheduled for Feb. 11, dubbed by protesters as a “Friday of Defiance.” (click here to read more….)
–With assistance from Mariam Fam in Cairo, Gregory Viscusi in Paris and Thomas Penny in London. Editors: Terry Atlas, Steven Komarow