Thursday, February 03, 2011

Egypt VP Snubs Obama in Interview, 'Open' to Talks with Muslim Brotherhood

 Recently appointed Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman has told state-run television that other countries should stay out of Egypt's unrest. The former general was very clear that Mubarak was not going anywhere, while making some small concessions. It is also notable that Suleiman would not rule out running for President in planned elections in September.

Suleiman attempted to play to both the nationalist and pro-government sides in his interview, stating seemingly contradictory claims. This has been reported by BBC. He said that it is unlikely for Hosni Mubarak's son Gamal to run for the Presidency. He also called upon protesters to be "punished" and blamed them for economic troubles:

Another headline from Vice-President Suleiman's state TV interview: he says the country has lost "at least $1bn" in tourism revenue and one million tourists have left during the turmoil.
Suleiman did, however, welcome talks with the main opposition force in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has significant ties with other terrorist groups in the region and has called for war with Israel.

State TV quotes Vice-President Omar Suleiman as saying the Muslim Brotherhood have been invited for talks with the new government. The brotherhood is the biggest opposition group, but was outlawed by Mr Mubarak's government.
Suleiman also delivered a backhanded slap at the White House and European nations that called for Mubarak to step down.  It appears that he was stating what Mubarak wanted said but did not in his last speech:

More from Vice-President Suleiman's interview with state TV: "Intervention in our internal affairs is strange, unacceptable and we will not allow it."
 This is just another indication that Mubarak plans to stay in power, at least for the time being. Suleiman may be grooming himself to be the next strongman of the country come September.

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