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Egypt Army Vows To Bring Transition To Democracy In Egypt

Cairo, Feb 12 : Egypt's military leadership today vowed to oversee a "peaceful transition" to democracy and pledged its commitment to all international treaties, a day after Hosni Mubarak bowed out as President in the
PTI February 12, 2011 22:34 IST
PTI
Cairo, Feb 12 : Egypt's military leadership today vowed to oversee a "peaceful transition" to democracy and pledged its commitment to all international treaties, a day after Hosni Mubarak bowed out as President in the wake of an unprecedented uprising against his 30-year rule.

In a statement here, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is now incharge of the administration in the post-Mubarak Egypt, gave no timeline for the changeover.

The military also banned top officials from travelling outside the country to ensure that former presidential loyalists do not flee.

The Council said the present government would remain in place until a transition to an elected government is achieved.

In a televised statement entitled "Communique Number 4," it said it would "pave the way for an elected civil authority to build a free democratic state".

Mubarak, 82, fled from Cairo yesterday as tens of thousands of protesters laid siege to his presidential palace demanding an end to his rule.

In what comes as an assurance to Israel, the military also vowed to respect the regional and international treaties that Egypt has committed to in the past.

"The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties," the military communique said.

The statement is expected to allay the concerns in Israel which is anxious that a change in leadership in Egypt could hamper the 1979 Camp David accords.
Celebrations have refused to die down in an emotionally-charged Egypt where thousands of people have been rejoicing since last night when Vice President Omar Suleiman
appeared on television to announce that Mubarak had finally stepped down.

Thousands of people still remain in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the centre of the 18-day uprising in Egypt. The army, which has come in for praise for its
handling of the protesters, today removed barricades and barbed wire at the now iconic Tahrir Square.

 Men, women and children, lauded the world over for their near violence-free revolution, joined in to clean the streets, collecting rubbish as tanks still lurked on the sides of main roads. Earlier, the military imposed a ban on officials from travelling outside the country.

The ban comes into force immediately, an official announcement from the new regime said as the Egyptian capital limped back to normalcy after 18-days of turmoil.

An official statement said that officials could only travel with permission from State Prosecutor or the armed forces.

The new move to put restrictions on movements of Mubarak loyalists came as mystery continued to surround the whereabouts of the deposed president and his family.

While officially it is stated that Mubarak has shifted to his Sharm-al-Sheikh resort residence, other reports in the Arab media said he may have moved to Europe or the Gulf.

There was no word or mention of the ex-president from the new regime.

 As a further sign of order returning, the Supreme Military Command Council, which has taken over the reins after Mubarak fled to his Sharm-al Sheikh resort retreat, announced that night curfew would be now in force only post midnight.

Protesters are divided over maintaining their vigil of the Square, while some want to go back home, others want to stay to ensure that military abides by its commitment to transfer power to civilian government through free and fair elections.

Earlier, in its third statement so far, the new regime headed by Mubarak loyalist 75-year-old Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi who heads the Supreme Council of the Armed forces, said that it respects the mood of the people.

"The Council will issue further statements that will announce forthcoming steps, measures and arrangements, and it affirms at the same time that it is not a replacement for the legitimacy that is acceptable to the people," a military statement said.

The repercussions of the downfall of Mubarak are creating ripples as reports said that hundreds of policemen were out on the streets in Ismailiya, alleging that senior
officers had forced them to shoot at protesters.

The police and Mubarak's secret police are the most detested elements of the ex-regime and have been target of popular wrath.

It was the longest night for the Egyptians, as joyful people in thousands were still holding celebrations as dawn broke in the Egyptian capital singing and dancing in the streets.

"Some of us want to return home. Others want to stay on to guard our victory. We are forming a Facebook group to keep in touch", a protester who was going home said.

Another democracy vigilante declared, "We propose to return and meet here each year on January 25 the start of the protest".

Most of the thousands gathered there described the announcement of stepping down of Mubarak as the "most momentous day of their life".

The Army also lifted all the barricades on the road adjacent to the museum. The soldiers and civilian volunteers also cut metal barriers and barbed wire as cranes took away torched vehicles. PTI