Egypt opposition not too happy with regime''s concessions

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Rania

Cairo, Feb 6 (PTI) Egypt''s ruling regime and theopposition held landmark negotiations and came up with apreliminary roadmap for political reforms and constitutionalchanges but their progress was stuck on the central questionof Hosni Mubarak''s immediate ouster from power.

The government held talks with several oppositiongroups including the largest opposition force the MuslimBrotherhood, outlawed in the country and agreed on setting upa committee to study and suggest by first week of Marchconstitutional amendments, mainly on limiting the terms of apresident and on who can contest for the top post.

But, the Muslim Brotherhood played down theconcessions offered by the regime, saying they do not trustthe authorities to follow through on promised reforms.

The developments came even as tens of thousands ofEgyptians converged at the now iconic Tahrir Square to observethe day as the ''Day of Martyrs'' in remembrance of theircountrymen killed in the uprising.

The talks and the agreements were achieved on the 13thday of protests against the Mubarak regime, but thedemonstrators refused to budge from their central demand thatthe 82-year-old President relinquishes power immediately.

"We cannot call it talks or negotiations... The MuslimBrotherhood went with a key condition that cannot be abandoned... that (Mubarak) needs to step down in order to usher in ademocratic phase," Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a member of theMB, told Al Jazeera.

While the regime has said that Mubarak, as presidenttill September, would preside over a peaceful transition to amore representative government, but the protesters haveinsisted that Mubarak should go now.

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq meanwhile toldCNN that Mubarak has no immediate plans to quit hi positionand that he intends to stay on till the end of his term inSeptember.

The talks came a day after the ruling NationalDemocratic Party saw a major shake up, with resignations ofmost of its leaders including the president''s son Gamal.

The talks resulted in an agreement over the setting upof a committee comprising political and judicial figures tostudy possible constitutional amendments on putting termlimits for the presidential tenures and defining rules for whocan run for the presidency.

But, Vice President Omar Suleiman did not agree to anopposition proposal that the President''s powers be transferredto him in line with a constitutional provision.

Meanwhile, Egyptians in thousands assembled at theTahrir Square to offer respects to those killed in the past 13days with Muslims and Christians holding prayers at the squareand sticking to their main demand that Mubarak should gobefore the transition begins. .

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