Egypt’s opposition spurns Mursi talks

Updated 28 January 2013
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Egypt’s opposition spurns Mursi talks

CAIRO: Egypt’s main opposition coalition will not join a national dialogue on Monday called by President Mohamed Mursi because the proposal was not genuine and the group will only attend future talks if a list of conditions are met, members said.
Mursi invited his allies and rivals to talks at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Monday to try to resolve a political crisis and end violence on the streets that erupted during anti-government protests. Five days of unrest has led to 50 deaths.
The National Salvation Front, which rejected a similar call for dialogue last year during another spasm of unrest, saw the Islamist leader’s call as “cosmetic and not substantive,” said leading member of the coalition Mohamed ElBaradei.
“We will not go to the dialogue today,” ElBaradei told a news conference after the Front’s members met in Cairo to discuss the invitation.
“We will send a message to the Egyptian people and the president of the republic about what we think are the essentials for dialogue. If he agrees to them, we are ready for dialogue.”
The coalition’s conditions included a demand that Mursi accept responsibility for the bloodshed and agree to form a government of national salvation, echoing previously unmet demands by the opposition.
“We have accepted dialogue (in the past) and went to the president in his office and spoke to him,” said leftist firebrand politician Hamdeen Sabahy. “We did not refuse dialogue. But the result was he issued an oppressive decree.”
Opposition politicians were enraged late last year when Mursi issued a decree awarding himself extra powers that the president’s allies said were essential to help push Egypt’s transition forward. Rivals saw it as a blatant power grab.
Opposition politicians were particularly angered that they had not been given any indication of Mursi’s plans for such a sweeping move in their individual talks with him shortly before the decree was issued.
After that decree, Mursi fast-tracked an Islamist-tinged constitution through a referendum, further enraging his opponents who accused him of reneging on his pledged to be a president for all Egyptians.


Transition government, elections to follow weapons decommissioning: New UN envoy's road map for Yemen

Updated 11 min 49 sec ago
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Transition government, elections to follow weapons decommissioning: New UN envoy's road map for Yemen

  • Martin Griffith the UN special envoy to Yemen hopes to float a new blueprint
  • Yemen's foreign minister said he will work with Houthis as long as weapons are decommissioned

LONDON: The UN special envoy to Yemen has returned to the country armed with a new political settlement to end the ongoing war.

Sources were quoted by Al Sharq Al-Awsat that Martin Griffith the UN special envoy to Yemen hopes to float a new-old blueprint to end the war by getting the parties to agree to a political settlement based on a transitional period to be followed by elections if both parties to the conflict agree to his plan.

Griffith hopes to start political talks without addressing the armed groups and their weapons, in the hope of addressing this sensitive issue later.

The proposed talks center around a negotiation process between a legitimate government and the proponent of the coup carried out by the Houthi militia backed by Iran in September 2015.

Yemen’s foreign minister Andel Malek Al-Mekhlafi said that his government is willing to work with the Houthis in a unity government in a transitional phase, as long as weapons are decommissioned; “so that we don’t legitimize the coup and its gains,” Al-Mekhlafi said.

While Yemen awaits practical steps to apply the UN special envoy’s vision, many experts in Yemen question the Houthi militia’s intent and commitment to any political settlement, with many believing that they will wait for orders from the Iranian government.