Army backs Mubarak in second statement

Amid anticipation of a military coup that would oust President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian Armed Forces issued a statement on Friday promising the implementation of Mubarak’s pledges.

On Thursday night, Mubarak affirmed that he would stay in power until the end of his term in September, announcing he would delegate some powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman. He pledged a package of constitutional reforms and a suspension of the 30-year-old state of emergency when the country stabilizes.

His speech came on the heels of an extraordinary meeting by the Egyptian Armed Forces, which was not attended by Mubarak. The meeting sent mixed signals to protesters who predicted that the army sided with them against Mubarak’s regime.

In the Armed Forces' second statement, read on Egyptian Television on Friday morning, the military endorsed Mubarak’s promises.

According to the statement, the army pledged the lifting of the emergency law as soon as “the current circumstances lapse.”

It also promised free and fair presidential elections in light of the upcoming constitutional amendments, which are expected to ease restrictions on candidates’ eligibility and ensure full judicial monitoring of the poll. Such promises are sought to “realize the free democratic society that people aspire for.”

“The Egyptian Armed Forces is committed to the people’s legitimate demands and will pursue their implementation through the supervision of the aforementioned measures in precise times with accuracy and firmness,” read the statement.

In an attempt to preempt nationwide calls for civil disobedience, the army asked people to resume normal life  and to go back to work “to safeguard public property and interests.”

The statement also confirmed that protesters won’t be pursued by the security apparatus.

However, the statement might fall short of convincing hundreds of thousands of protesters who are already flocking to the streets, demanding the ouster of Mubarak and his regime.

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