AlJazzera:Talks fail to end Egypt protests
- Talks fail to end Egypt protestsPro-democracy protests continue at Tahrir Square, a day after government held talks with opposition to end turmoil.Last Modified: 07 Feb 2011 07:44 GMT
Pro-democracy protesters are continuing their sit-in in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square for the fourteenth consecutive day, showing no signs of being appeased by talks held a day earlier between the government and opposition groups.
People were still camped out in the square on Monday while life was slowly getting back to normal in other parts of the Egyptian capital.
An Al Jazeera correspondent said traffic in the streets was increasing while businesses were beginning to reopen.
"There's a lot of popular public sentiments in Cairo and wider Egypt regarding what those protesters are trying to achieve but at the same time, people are trying to get back to live as normal lives as possible," he said.
"But some of the shopping malls for example are still closed because they're afraid of looting, and the banks yesterday were only open for a few hours."
Tanks continue to guard government buildings, embassies and other important institutions in the city.
Egypt has been in turmoil since January 25, when protesters took to the streets seeking the immediate resignation of Hosni Mubarak, the president who has ruled the country for three decades.
Omar Suleiman, the country's newly appointed vice-president, began meetings with six opposition groups on Sunday, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood (MB)
However, the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group, played down the meeting, saying it was not prepared to drop its central demand of calling for Mubarak to resign as president.
"We cannot call it talks or negotiations. The Muslim Brotherhood went with a key condition that cannot be abandoned ... that he [Mubarak] needs to step down in order to usher in a democratic phase," Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a Brotherhood member, told Al Jazeera.
According to a statement from Suleiman's office following the meeting, the government offered to form a committee to examine proposed constitutional amendments, pursue allegedly corrupt government officials, "liberalise" media and communications and lift the state of emergency in the country when the security situation was deemed to be appropriate.
But Fotouh said the government had failed to take concrete measures on the ground.
"If they were serious, the parliament would have been dissolved, also a presidential decree ending the emergency law".
Egypt has been under emergency rule since 1981, the year Mubarak assumed power.
Barack Obama, the US president, made new remarks on the political situation in Egypt after the meeting. He told the US television network Fox that Egyptians would not permit a repressive government to fill the Mubarak void, adding that the Muslim Brotherhood is only one faction in Egypt.
"But here's the thing that we have to understand, there are a whole bunch of secular folks in Egypt, there are a whole bunch of educators and civil society in Egypt that want to come to the fore as well.
"So it's important for us not to say that our own only two options are either the Muslim Brotherhood or a suppressed people."
Our correspondent in Cairo said the pro-democracy protesters were still not pleased with Obama's stance on the crisis.
"Protesters tell me Obama still hasn't come up with any statement that they want to hear," he said.
"They want immediate change and the feeling among many of them is that the way US is handling this crisis is not good for the way America is perceived both here and in general in the wider region."