As Opposition Groups Meet, Egyptian Leader Calls for Normalcy
In Exclusive Interview, Suleiman Calls for Egyptians to 'Go Home'
Feb. 6, 2011— -- 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.
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