7 Feb 2011

Talks held in Cairo with opposition groups

3:02 pm on 7 February 2011

Egyptian vice-president Omar Suleiman has held talks in Cairo with opposition groups including the Moslem Brotherhood.

The discussions are aimed at trying to find a way out of the country's worst crisis in decades. Protesters continuing to call for the immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

A government spokesperson said those who attended the meeting included members of secular opposition parties, independent legal experts and a business tycoon.

State television in Egypt said the government and the opposition groups had agreed to set up a committee to study constitutional reform.

However, AFP reports the Muslim Brotherhood said afterwards that the offer by the regime to include opposition members on the panel, did not go far enough.

Former IAEA leader Mohamed ElBaradei says he was not invited to the talks.

The Nobel Peace laureate says the talks with Mr Suleiman were managed by the same people who have ruled the country for 30 years and lack credibility.

Mr ElBaradei says the negotiations are not a single step toward the change protesters have demanded in 12 days of demonstrations: they want President Mubarak to step down.

Semblance of normality in Cairo

Banks opened on Sunday for the first time in a week, with the government saying measures are in place to cope with fears of panic withdrawals.

But the stock exchange is to remain closed for an eighth day, reversing an earlier decision that it would open again.

A Radio New Zealand correspondent says a semblance of normality is returning to Cairo, but the protesters in Tahrir Square have settled in for the long haul.

On Morning Report, he described Tahrir Square as being like the Paris commune.

The protests began on 25 January.