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Egyptian government in talks with opposition

Egyptian government in talks with opposition
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On the 13th day since this upheaval began in Egypt there are still no signs of the anti-government demonstrators giving up the struggle to force President Hosni Mubarak from office.

Tens of thousands of people, a mixture of mainly coptic Christians and Muslims, piled into Tahrir Square, more than in previous days. The army has stepped up security around the square, allowing a calmer atmosphere in which prayers and peaceful protest have been taking precedence.

The two religious groups took it in turn to say prayers, each respecting the other in a show of unity.

At times, between prayers, chants of “no to an Islamic state” and “no to a military state” could be heard reverberating around the square.

While Tahrir Square remained the focus of the popular uprising, there have been developments elsewhere, in ongoing attempts to bring about peaceful change as soon as possible.

The vice-president, Omar Suleiman, has held a meeting with a range of opposition groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, a group still officially banned in Egypt. Secular groups were also present along with lawyers and businessmen. Popular opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei also reportedly sent a representative.

If the mood in the square was more relaxed there was no indication that it was any more compromising, but on the wider political front there are those who are saying the only way forward is for Mubarak to remain in place at least long enough to steer through a transition of power in an orderly and peaceful way. Those countries include Germany, Italy and Turkey.

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