Monday, January 31, 2011


Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak, facing a popular revolt
against his rule, has ordered
Ahmed Shafiq, the new prime
minister to preserve subsidies,
control inflation and provide
more jobs.
Protesters who have rocked the
nation of 80 million people, a key
US ally in the Arab world,
complain about surging prices
and the growing inequality in the
society but have also called for a
new political system.
"I require you to bring back
confidence in our economy,"
Mubarak said in a letter to
Shafiq, read on TV on Sunday.
"I trust your ability to implement
economic policies that accord the
highest concern to people's
"I stress that subsidy provisions
in their different forms must not
be tampered with and that your
government just challenge all
forms of corruption," Mubarak
'Wider participation'
Mubarak's letter to Shafiq hinted
opposition parties could gain
more freedoms but was short on
"I also stress the need for
moving seriously and effectively
towards more political reforms,
in the constitution and
legislation, via extensive dialogue
with the parties ... allowing their
wider participation."
Mubarak sacked his cabinet on
Saturday after days of
unprecedented demonstrations
across the country, appointing
former air force chief Ahmed
Shafiq as his new prime minister.
But Shafiq has yet to name his
Mubarak said Egyptians had
expressed their legitimate
demands during the past week
of protests but that "religious
slogans" had penetrated their
ranks - a reference to the Muslim
Brotherhood, Egypt's largest
opposition group banned by the
He said they had "striven to
cause chaos", leading to the
disorder and looting of recent
Security forces suddenly
withdrew from the streets of
Egyptian cities en masse on
Friday after spending the day
combating the protests.
A report on the state news
agency Mena on Sunday night
said Mubarak had also discussed
political reforms with US
President Barack Obama in a
telephone call.
"(Mubarak) expressed his
determination to continue with
more steps on political reform
that respond to the aspirations
of the Egyptian people for a free,
democratic society," the agency
The six days of unrest have killed
more than 100 people, rattled
global investors and stunned
regional and Western leaders
who looked to Mubarak as a
bulwark against Islamists and
support for Middle East peace

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