EGYPT: Mohamed ElBaradei says he won’t negotiate until president steps down


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Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday that he will not negotiate with the Egyptian government until President Hosni Mubarak steps down.

‘The whole idea was to move that regime to a new regime,’ ElBaradei said on CNN’s ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS.’ ‘Mubarak continues to be a symbol of that old regime, and I will not give any legitimacy to that existing regime.’


ElBaradei’s comments came as Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman met in Cairo with some opposition figures, including members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood and a representative of ElBaradei’s National Assn. for Change. Mubarak has said that he plans to remain in office until elections in September but that he will not run again.

ElBaradei, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency who has emerged as a figurehead for the country’s fractured opposition, said the transition process should not be managed solely by the outgoing regime.

‘There has to be heavy engagement by the people, by the civilians,’ he said. ‘So we are not in the greatest situation right now. It’s a very opaque situation, and it’s a very tense situation.’

He proposed the creation of a transitional presidential council that would prepare the country for free and fair elections. That council could include Suleiman or an army representative, as well as a civilian representative, he said.

ElBaradei said any elections before ‘the right people establish parties and engage’ would be ‘fake democracy.’



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-- Alexandra Zavis