Thousands rally for Mursi as rifts widens

Updated 01 December 2012
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Thousands rally for Mursi as rifts widens

CAIRO: Thousands rallied yesterday in support of President Muhammad Mursi’s new expanded powers and the drafting of a contested charter.
The demonstration in the heart of Cairo comes a day after tens of thousands of Mursi opponents converged on Tahrir Square to protest against the president’s decree and the speedy adoption of the draft constitution.
The charter has taken center stage in the country’s worst political crisis since Mursi’s election in June. It is expected to go to a popular referendum within two weeks.
Members of the constituent assembly handed Mursi the final draft of the constitution adopted after a marathon overnight session on Thursday that was boycotted by liberals, seculars and Christians.
Thousands of pro-Mursi demonstrators gathered at Cairo University, with riot police on standby and roadblocks in place.
Veiled women were among the protesters who carried Egyptian flags and posters of Mursi, with banners reading “Together (with Mursi) to save the revolution”.
“There are people who want instability,” said demonstrator Khaled, referring to anti-Mursi protesters. “There needs to be a constitution for there to be stability.”
Pro-Mursi protests were also staged in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and the central Egyptian province of Assiut.
The Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters have branded the opposition as enemies of the revolution that toppled longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Across the Nile river, hundreds of protesters camping out in Tahrir Square since Mursi issued a decree expanding his powers were expected to be joined by more demonstrators throughout the day.
The National Rescue Front — a coalition of opponents led by dissident former UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei, ex-Arab League chief Amr Mussa and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi — has called on the decree’s opponents to keep up the pressure.
It has called on Egyptians to “reject the illegitimate” decree and the “void” draft constitution, and stressed the public’s right “to use any peaceful method to protest including a general strike and civil disobedience”.
The crisis was sparked when Mursi issued the decree on Nov. 22 giving himself sweeping powers and placing his decisions beyond judicial review, provoking mass protests and a judges’ strike.
In an interview broadcast Thursday night, Mursi stressed again his new powers would expire once the constitution was ratified.
The Brotherhood and the secular-leaning opposition had stood side by side in Tahrir Square in 2011 as they fought to bring down Mubarak and his regime.


Leaders of two Koreas hold surprise meeting as Trump revives summit hopes

Updated 27 May 2018
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Leaders of two Koreas hold surprise meeting as Trump revives summit hopes

SEOUL/WASHINGTON: South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a surprise meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday in an effort to ensure that a high-stakes summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump takes place successfully, South Korean officials said.
The meeting was the latest dramatic turn in a week of diplomatic flip-flops surrounding the prospects for an unprecedented summit between the United States and North Korea, and the strongest sign yet that the two Korean leaders are trying to keep the on-again off-again summit on track.
Their two hours of talks at the Panmunjom border village came a month after they held the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade at the same venue. At that meeting, they declared they would work toward a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.
“The two leaders candidly exchanged views about making the North Korea-US summit a successful one and about implementing the Panmunjom Declaration,” South Korea’s presidential spokesman said in a statement. He did not confirm how the meeting was arranged or which side asked for it.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment. But White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said an advance team of White House and US State Department officials would leave for Singapore on schedule this weekend to prepare for a possible summit there.
Reuters reported earlier this week that a US advance team was scheduled to discuss the agenda and logistics for the summit with North Korean officials.
“There is a very strong possibility a US-North Korea summit could be back on very soon,” said Harry Kazianis of the conservative Center for the National Interest think-tank in Washington.
Whether one takes place depends on Kim agreeing to some sort of a realistic and verifiable denuclearization plan, added Kazianis, citing his own Trump administration sources. “If not, no summit. That is what it hinges on,” he said.
TRUMP HAILS “PRODUCTIVE TALKS“
In a letter to Kim on Thursday, Trump had said he was canceling the summit planned for June 12 in Singapore, citing North Korea’s “open hostility.”
But on Friday he indicated the meeting could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from Pyongyang.
“We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
In a tweet later, Trump cited “very productive talks” and said that if the summit were reinstated it would likely remain in Singapore on June 12, and that it could be extended if necessary.
A senior White House official told reporters on Thursday that organizing a summit by June 12 could be a challenge, given the amount of dialogue needed to ensure a clear agenda.
“And June 12 is in ... 10 minutes,” the official said.
If the summit is not held, some analysts warn that the prospect of a military confrontation between the two nations would rise, while a successful summit would mark Trump’s biggest foreign policy achievement.
The Trump administration is demanding that North Korea completely and irreversibly shutter its nuclear weapons program. Kim and Trump’s initial decision to meet followed months of war threats and insults between the leaders over the program.
Pyongyang has conducted six nuclear tests, and has developed a long-range missile that could theoretically hit anywhere in the United States. Experts, however, are doubtful that North Korea possesses a warhead capable of surviving the stresses of re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Video and a photo released by South Korea’s presidential Blue House on Saturday showed Kim hugging Moon and kissing him on the cheek three times as he saw Moon off after their meeting at Tongilgak, the North’s building in the truce village, which lies in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) — the 2.5-mile (4 km) wide buffer that runs along the heavily armed military border.
Video footage also showed Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, greeting Moon as he arrived at Tongilgak and shaking hands, before the South Korean leader entered the building flanked by North Korean military guards.
Moon is the only South Korean leader to have met a North Korean leader twice, both times in the DMZ, which is a symbol of the unending hostilities between the nations after the Korean War ended in 1953 in a truce, not a peace treaty.