As Opposition Groups Meet, Egyptian Leader Calls for Normalcy

this week WG
Share
Copy

The new vice president of Egypt has a potent message for all those protestors in Cairo: go home and let things go back to "normal."

In an exclusive interview with "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour, Egypt's new vice president and its powerful intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, said, "We can say only go home," to the protestors. "We cannot do more than that. We cannot push them by force," he said.

"Everybody have to go home. We want to have normal life. We don't want anybody in the streets. Go back to work. Bring back the tourists. Go back to normal life. Save the economy of the country," he said.

"Do you believe in democracy?" Amanpour asked him.

"For sure, everyone believes in democracy. But when will you do that? When the people here have the culture of democracy," he said.

"What do you want?" Amanpour asked.

"I want the opposition to know that with this limited time, we can do what President Mubarak has offered. And we cannot do more," Suleiman said.

And in the most expansive meeting of its kind since the protests began on Jan 25, Suleiman met Sunday with a wide range of Egypt's opposition groups to discuss reforms that would put the country on a path toward greater democracy.

Attendees at the meeting included supporters of Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Prize winning former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who returned to the country to join protests.

The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, as well as other smaller liberal organizations, also attended the meeting.

Signs of Normalcy Returning

On Sunday morning protestors were gathering in Cairo's in Tahrir Square, for what is being called by the protesters "The Day of Martyrs."

Early reports say that the crowd was again peaceful and the mood far less tense than it had been earlier in the week.

In what is becoming a series of names attached to these gatherings, "The Day of Martyrs" kicks off a "Week of Resilience" or "endurance" depending on the translation.

In other signs of normalcy returning to Cairo, banks re-opened Sunday for a three hour period, an important move as the Egyptian economy has been suffering by an estimated loss of $300 million a day. Roads around the city center have been crowded as more people appear to be going back to work and more businesses open, ABC reporters in Cairo observed.

Obama Not Pressuring Mubarak Publicly

President Obama declined on Friday to publicly pressure Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to comply with protesters demands that he step down immediately, saying that "the future of Egypt is going to be in the hands of Egyptians" and that Mubarak will "end up making the right decision" on how to move forward.

Obama was critical, however, of the regime's inability or failure to halt attacks on protesters and journalists who have been broadcasting the uprising worldwide.

"We continue to be crystal clear that we oppose violence as a response to this crisis," the president said at a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "We are sending a strong and unequivocal message that attacks on reporters are unacceptable, attacks on human rights activists are unacceptable, attacks on peaceful protesters are unacceptable. The Egyptian government has a responsibility to protect the rights of its people. Those demonstrating also have a right do so peacefully."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images