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Youth Coalition says army agrees to remove cabinet and other demands
By   Heba Fahmy / Daily News Egypt March 1, 2011, 1:34 am

CAIRO: The Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution said in a statement that the army has agreed to remove the current cabinet, dismantle the State Security apparatus and release political detainees whose names were presented by the coalition.

In a statement released Monday, the Coalition said that they met with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to discuss their demands for reform and democracy.

However, independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on its website that the council denied making such concessions. The report, which also said that the army had set an April date for a public referendum on constitutional amendments, couldn’t be immediately verified.


“That’s not true, the Council specifically told us [on Sunday] that the government of (Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq) will be sacked soon, but they needed time to make a smooth transition,” Asmaa Mahfouz, prominent member of the coalition and the April 6 Youth Movement, told Daily News Egypt when asked about the report.
“I’m very optimistic that the army will follow through with their promises to us and I trust them,” she added.

Mohamed Adel, spokesperson of the April 6 Youth Movement said, "Al-Dostor newspaper’s website reported that the army has agreed to our demands with regards to sacking Shafiq's government soon."

"We only heard about this news from Al-Masry Al-Youm, but the army didn't say that to us or issue any such statement."

The coalition said they agreed with the council on the removal of the current government which is dominated by ministers handpicked by ousted President Hosni Mubarak “in a few days”. Other reports suggested the removal would be in two months.

The coalition also said they agreed on restructuring the ministry of interior and dismantling the state security services in four to five weeks. Other reports suggested that the notorious state security services would be restructured rather than canceled.

Demands the coalition said the army agreed to include sacking all the current governors within two months; full cooperation in the issue of political detainees whose names would be presented by the group; getting the new government to set a minimum and maximum wage.

The meeting lasted for five hours, according to a statement issued by the April 6 Youth movement on Monday.

“Next week we will present a proposal to the council regarding the new government and regarding the establishment of a presidential council to rule Egypt during this transition period instead of the army,” general coordinator of the April 6 Youth Movement, Ahmed Maher, told DNE.

The council also apologized to the youth about the attack on protesters in Tahrir Square in the early hours of Feb. 26 and vowed to prosecute those responsible.

Army soldiers and military police chased protesters in Tahrir and near the parliament building using cattle prods in the early hours of Saturday, beating and arresting a number of activists.

Khaled El-Sayed, a member of the coalition representing Youth for Justice and Freedom movement, said that he refused to attend the meeting because of what happened on Saturday.

“Our movement has decided to boycott any meetings with the army because of its violence against the peaceful protestors and because of its delay in implementing our demands for reform,” El Sayed told DNE.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued an apology on its Facebook page Saturday morning, saying the clashes were “unintentional.” In a second statement, the council said it ordered the release of all protesters arrested the night before.

The council “did not and will not issue orders to assault the [youth],” the statement read.

Tens of thousands had flocked to Tahrir on what was dubbed the “Friday of Cleansing,” demanding the removal of the cabinet, especially premier Ahmed Shafiq and other ministers affiliated with and appointed by ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

“We will continue to use all the tools we have to pressure the army council to heed the people’s demands and preserve the achievements of the youth revolution,” Adel said in the statement.

   

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