President Hosni Mubarak's powerful son Gamal and top leaders of ruling party on Saturday quit their posts, but their conciliatory gesture drew a blank amid mounting pressure from protestors demanding the immediate ouster of the Egyptian leader demonstrators on a 12th day of anti-regime protests rejected the shuffle as a show off measure.According to official MENA news agency, it was his first meeting with the new ministers after he sacked the previous government last week in a bid to appease the protesters. Reports say that country’s Vice President Omar Suleiman is likely to meet opposition in an attempt to defuse tense situation in the country.
The six-member steering committee of the National Democratic Party, including secretary-general Safwat el-Sharif, stepped down in a move to calm down protests against Mubarak.Hossam Badrawi, prominent physician who is reputed to have good relations with opposition figures, has been appointed as the NDP secretary general.
Earlier reports had said the President had also quit the National Democratic Party, but the state TV did not name the president and announced that members of the top decision-making committee had resigned from their posts.The top executive of the ruling National Democratic Party, which includes the president's son Gamal Mubarak who is head of the powerful policies committee, resigned from ruling party, state television said."The members of the executive committee resigned from their posts," it said. Gamal, a member of the Steering Committee, has been seen as being groomed by his father to succeed him as president.Omar Suleiman, the Vice President promised last week that Gamal would not run for president in elections due in September. Uncertainty and tension gripped Egypt with international clamour growing on beleaguered President to hand over power immediately as saboteurs blew up a key gas pipeline to Israel adding a fresh dimension to the 12-day old crisis in the Arab nation.
As unprecedented protests raged at the famous Tahrir Square in central Cairo, the state TV reported "dangerous explosions continuing from one spot to another" in the main source of gas supplying pipeline in El Arish.With no let up in protests fury, President Mubarak, who appeared increasingly cornered, held a meeting of his new cabinet to revive the economy and project calm in the face of the increasing turmoil.
The meeting was attended by Egypt's new Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq as well as the central bank governor and the ministers of petroleum, social solidarity, trade and industry, and finance.Egypt frees Al-Jazeera bureau chief, journalist,the Al-Jazeera bureau chief in Cairo and one of its journalists were freed on Saturday, the Doha-based television channel said amid anti-government protests in Egypt.Abdel Fattah Fayed and Mohammed Fawi, a journalist detained during the protests, were released, the pan-Arab channel, which has been banned since last Sunday from operating in Egypt, reported.Fayed was detained on Saturday along with another journalist, Ahmed Yousef, a day after the satellite channel said that its offices in the Egyptian capital had been burned by a "gang of thugs" and its website had been hacked by "opponents of the pro-democracy movement in Egypt."
As uncertainty gripped Egypt, US President Barack Obama has delivered a clear hint to Hosni Mubarak to step down by listening to his people and make the "right decision".Calling for immediate start of an "orderly transition" in Egypt, where tens of thousands of people are rallying for ouster of Mubarak, Obama said the Egyptian strongman should reconsider his position amid a mass uprising.
"In order for Egypt to have a bright future, the only thing that will work is moving an orderly transition process that begins right now that engages all parties, leads to democratic practises, fair and free elections, and representative government that is responsive to the grievances of the Egyptian people," Obama said during his joint interaction with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
As unrest escalated in the North African nation, Obama had telephonic talk on the situation with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"He (Mubarak) needs to listen to what is being voiced by the Egyptian people, and make a judgement about the way forward that is orderly, but that is meaningful and serious," the US President said.Though Obama did not explicitly say that Mubarak should leave power immediately, but his choice of words made it clear that Washington is pinning for an immediate political transition in Egypt that does not include Mubarak.Obama's message for change came as the New York Times quoting top US officials reported that US is pushing for Vice President Omar Sulaiman to head a new transition government backed by the army.Egypt's Prime Minster Ahmed Shafiq, however, ruled out a possibility that Mubarak would hand over or transfer power to Sulaiman.Obama said since Mubarak has himself announced he is not going to be running again, he should be thinking on how to leave a legacy behind in which Egypt is able to get through this trans formative period.Terming the Egyptian President as a proud patriot, Obama said he has suggested Mubarak that he needs to consult with those who are in his government."Having made that psychological break, that decision that he will not be running again, I think its most important for him to ask himself, for the Egyptian government to ask itself as well as the opposition to ask itself is, how do we make the transition effective, lasting and legitimate?" Obama said.During each of his conversations with Mubarak, Obama said he emphasised the fact that the future of Egypt is going to be in the hands of Egyptians.
Asserting that attacks on journalists, human rights activists and protesters in Egypt are "unacceptable", US President Barack Obama has said that his administration is closely monitoring the situation in the country.
"In recent days we've seen violence and harassment erupt on the streets of Egypt that violates human rights, universal values and international norms. So we are sending a strong and unequivocal message. Attacks on reporters, human rights activists and peaceful protesters are unacceptable," Obama said at a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday.
Stressing that the issues at stake in Egypt will not be resolved through violence or suppression, Obama said he has been encouraged by the restraint shown on Friday and hoped that it continues."The situation in Egypt is fluid and the US is monitoring it closely," he said.Noting that the Egyptian government has the responsibility to protect rights of its people, he said those demonstrating also have a responsibility to do so peacefully.Acknowledging that the future of Egypt will be determined by its people, Obama said, "It's also clear that there needs to be a transition process that begins now. That transition must initiate a process that respects the universal rights of the Egyptian people and that leads to free and fair elections."
Obama said his administration is consulting widely within Egypt and the international community to communicate their belief that a successful and orderly transition must be meaningful.TheUS President said negotiations should include a broad representation of the Egyptian opposition, and this transition must address the legitimate grievances of those who seek a better future."We want to see this moment of turmoil turn into a moment of opportunity. The entire world is watching. What we hope for and what we will work for is a future where all of Egyptian society seizes that opportunity," Obama said."Right now, a great and ancient civilisation is going through a time of tumult and transition. And even as there are grave challenges and great uncertainty, I am confident that the Egyptian people can shape the future that they deserve," he added.
Opposition figure Mohammad Al Bardei has said that President Mubarak should listen the voices of the people and leave with dignity.
The European Union's 27 leaders said at a summit in Brussels that Egypt's transition process must start now and condemned the violence.
Egypt's Health Ministry has said that 12 people were killed and more than 1200 injured in the fighting at Tahrir square.Egyptian authorities have arrested Al-Jazeera's bureau chief and one of its journalists in Cairo as anti-government protests continue.Mubarak shows no sign of ending his 30-year grip on power as international calls grow for him to go. Thousands of people are still in Cairo's central Tahir Square, which has become the focus of nationwide protests. Clashes left at least eight people dead and more than 800 hurt on Wednesday and Thursday.
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