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Middle East
Suleiman calls for end to protests
Egyptian vice-president says talks with opposition can start only after protests end.
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2011 21:22 GMT
Suleiman's comments come amid running street battles between pro- and anti-government protesters [EPA]


Egypt's newly appointed vice-president has said that anti-government protests must stop before dialogue can begin with opposition groups.

Omar Suleiman made the comments on Wednesday, amid violent clashes in central Cairo between pro-and anti-government demonstrators that have left at least one dead and hundreds injured.

Suleiman, the former head of intelligence named vice-president on Saturday by President Hosni Mubarak, urged demonstrators to respect an earlier call from the Egyptian army and return to their homes, state media said.

Suleiman called on "all citizens to respond to our armed forces's call to return to your homes and respect the curfew, to support  the state's efforts to restore calm and stability.

"Those taking part in these protests have delivered their message," he said.

"Dialogue with the political [opposition] forces... requires that the demonstrations end and the Egyptian street returns to normal," he said.

His comments came after Barack Obama, the US president, led world leaders in calling for an "orderly transition of power" to begin immediately but the Egyptian foreign ministry rejected such calls saying the comments "sought to inflame the internal situation in Egypt".

But opposition leaders insisted there can be no negotiations until Mubarak steps down.

Source:
Agencies
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