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Egypt army says committed to democratic transition

Egypt's ruling military council reiterated on Thursday that it woulf not obstruct a transition to democracy, but did not bow to protesters demanding an immediate power transfer to civilians.

November 24, 2011 2:11 by

An overnight truce between Egyptian riot police and protesters succeeded on Thursday in calming violence that has killed 39 people in five days. But demonstrators occupying Cairo’s Tahrir Square vowed to stay until the army goes.

General Mokhtar al-Mullah, citing an address this week by army commander Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, said: “The armed forces are not an alternative to the legitimacy the people want. Our first objective was to re-establish security.”

Speaking at a news conference, Mullah repeated Tantawi’s assurance that the parliamentary election would go ahead on time, starting on Monday, despite the outbreak of violence.

He said Chief of Staff Sami Enan had held a meeting with “political parties and some intellectuals” which he said had produced recommendations for an immediate halt to violence, the release of detainees and treatment of the wounded.

Defending the performance of the army council that took over from ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, he said: “We all agree there was corruption that went on for many years and we cannot overcome this in months to provide stability.” (By Marwa Awad;Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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