Friday, February 4, 2011

'US offering plan for Mubarak to quit'

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (L) and US President Barack Obama
The US is reportedly negotiating with Egyptian officials over a proposal for embattled President Hosni Mubarak to cede power immediately.

The Obama administration has offered the proposal for the 82-year-old Mubarak to step down in order to pave the way for formation of a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

Citing US administration officials and Arab diplomats, the report further stated that the transitional government will have the backing of Egypt's armed forces chief of staff Sami Enan and Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

The latest development comes as the US Senate approved a non-binding measure on Thursday, calling on Mubarak to quickly set up a caretaker government amid public outcry over his three-decade rule.

The resolution urged Mubarak to "immediately begin an orderly and peaceful transition to a democratic political system" by handing over power to a caretaker government "in coordination with leaders from Egypt's opposition, civil society, and military."

According to the report, the proposal echoes same calls on Mubarak and urges him to invite members from a variety of opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood to commence a process of constitutional reform in an effort to lay the groundwork for holding a free and fair election in September.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian vice president said on Thursday that the government has started dialog with the opposition parties and representatives of protesters to bring an end to the political impasse.

In an interview with state TV, Suleiman noted that the Muslim Brotherhood has been invited to meet with the government over the future path of the political situation in Egypt.

The remarks came as millions of Egyptian protesters are gearing up for the “Day of Departure” for Mubarak on Friday with plans to hold huge rallies in front of the presidential palace, where the embattled president lives.

According to the Congressional Research Service, Washington has given Cairo an average of $2 billion annually since 1979, making Egypt the second largest recipient of US aid after Israel.

The Obama administration has asked the Congress to approve similar sums for the 2011 fiscal year.

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