Mubarak told Arab academics and representatives of nongovernmental groups on Sunday at a conference organised by the Library of Alexandria: "There will be new horizons for civil society."
 
 

He also said he would bring new political draft laws to parliament, without elaborating.

 

Mubarak asked lawmakers late last month to amend Egypt's constitution to allow for multi-candidate and direct presidential elections.

 

Opposition parties have long demanded that the state of emergency, in effect since late president Anwar al-Sadat's assassination in October 1981, be lifted.

 

They also want to see a limitation in presidential prerogatives and the reduction of presidential mandates down to two four-year mandates from the current indefinitely renewable six-year mandates.

 

Mubarak also said that political reforms in the Arab world "cannot come from outside" and must "take into account the diversity of situations in Arab countries."

 

He also called for Arab and Western countries to pursue "the dialogue of civilisations".