nancyk58 Posted February 6, 2011 Share Posted February 6, 2011 News on 6 February 2011 6 February 2011 Last updated at 15:34 GMT http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12377179 Egypt opposition wary after talks Egypt's opposition groups - including the banned Muslim Brotherhood - have given a wary response after landmark talks with the government on how to end the country's political crisis. The meeting followed 13 days of street protests calling on President Hosni Mubarak to resign. Opposition groups told the BBC they were sceptical about the government's good faith. Meanwhile, many banks opened for the first time in a week. Long queues formed as people waited to withdraw money. Tens of thousands have again joined demonstrations in Cairo and other cities, calling for democratic reforms. President Mubarak has refused to resign immediately, saying that to do so would cause chaos and has said instead that he will not stand for re-election in September. State of emergency Mr Suleiman was hosting the talks on Sunday along with a number of opposition parties, including Wafd and Tagammu, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian State TV said the participants had agreed to form a joint committee of judicial and political figures tasked with suggesting constitutional amendments. However, the Brotherhood said the talks would only continue if the government makes progress on meeting its demands. Deputy leader Rashad Mohammed el-Bayoumy said these included "the immediate removal of this regime, beginning with Hosni Mubarak; the lifting of the emergency laws that we have been living under for more than thirty years... Dissolving the parliament, which is in place only as a result of blatant election rigging; and finally, the release of all political prisoners." The BBC's Jon Leyne, in Cairo, says opposition members and a group of so-called "wise men" who were also there told him they were sceptical of the government's moves. It was the first time the government and the long-banned Brotherhood have held talks. However, another key opposition figure - former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei - was absent. Economic woes The participants also rejected foreign interference in Egypt's affairs and said they would work towards the peaceful transition of power, the state news reports said. Mr Suleiman had invited the groups last week, telling the Muslim Brotherhood it was a "valuable opportunity". The Brotherhood had previously said it would not take part in the negotiations. The Islamist group is Egypt's most influential and well-organised opposition but it remains officially banned and its members and leaders have been subject to frequent repression. Mr Mubarak has blamed it for the unrest and said that if he leaves, the group will exploit the ensuing political chaos. The Muslim Brotherhood denies accusations that it is seeking to create an Islamist state in Egypt. Earlier, hundreds of bank branches across the country and in Cairo opened at 1000 local time (0800 GMT). Long queues formed at some for the brief opening period - the banks closed again at 1330 local time. The central bank has released some of its $36bn (£22bn) in official foreign reserves to cover withdrawals, amid fears Egyptians would be panicked into taking out their savings. Deputy central bank governor Hisham Ramez has said he is confident all transactions will be honoured. The government is seeking to revive an economy said to be losing at least $310m (£192m) a day. Many shops, factories and the stock exchange have been closed for days, and basic goods have been running short. Correspondents say many Egyptians have been wondering how quickly daily life will return to normal regardless of the outcome of the struggle for power. But they also say there is no let-up in the magnitude of the protests in Tahrir Square, and the mood is almost back to the festival atmosphere of the first few days, with many families and young children in attendance. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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