News24

Egypt talks agree to reform team

2011-02-06 16:23

Cairo - Participants in talks between the Egyptian regime and several opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, agreed on Sunday to form a constitutional reform committee, a government official (has) said.

Government spokesperson Magdi Radi said they agreed on "the formation of a committee, which will include the judiciary and a number of political figures, to study and propose constitutional amendments and required legislative amendments... by the first week of March."

The talks between the government and the opposition involve some but not all of the groups which have taken part in nearly two weeks of unprecedented demonstrations calling for the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.

It was the first time that the government has engaged in official dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group which is banned.

Radi said participants in the talks reached "consensus" on a statement that called for the constitutional reform panel and agreed to "a peaceful transition of power based on the constitution".

The statement also proposes the opening of an office to receive complaints about political prisoners, the lifting of restrictions on media and communication, and rejecting of "any foreign interference in Egyptian affairs".

The statement also calls for the lifting of Egypt's much-criticised emergency law, "depending on the security situation".

The talks come after a raft of government concessions aimed at placating protesters who have called for the immediate ousting of Mubarak.

But several of the groups involved in the 13 days of demonstrations have refused to participate in dialogue with the regime until Mubarak steps down.

He has said he will not stand in elections scheduled for September, but has shown no intention of stepping down before the vote.