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By Haris Afzal on Friday, February 4, 2011 with 0 comments

Suleiman also hinted at irritation with U.S. interference in a television interview on Thursday.

"There are some abnormal ways by which foreign countries have intervened through press declarations and statements. This was very strange, given the friendly relations between us and them," he said.

Many of the protesters reject Suleiman as an alternative.

Obama and his top aides have carefully avoided calling for Mubarak's resignation, instead insisting that an orderly transition "must begin now."

The U.N. estimates 300 people have died in the unrest which was inspired in part by protests in Tunisia which forced Tunisian strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee last month and which have since spread to other parts of the Middle East.

In the most dramatic spike in violence, pro-Mubarak supporters attacked protesters in Tahrir Square on Wednesday and pitched battles broke out between the two sides. The government denied accusations by the protesters and international activists that they had instigated the attack.

The government has offered talks on reforms, but that has failed to satisfy protesters who want Mubarak to leave now.

The opposition -- which includes the liberal figurehead Mohamed ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood -- has rejected talks until Mubarak resigns.

They also say they want democracy rather than Mubarak's replacement by another leader drawn from the army, which has dominated Egypt since it toppled the monarchy in 1952.

A leading member of the Brotherhood told on Friday the group -- Egypt's most organized opposition group -- had no ambitions to run for the presidency.

Mohammed al-Beltagi also said government representatives who had invited it to talks on political reform had indicated that the group, which is formally banned, would receive official recognition as a party.

\Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, has been a key U.S. ally in the Middle East. Mubarak had also styled himself as a bulwark against militancy.

The United States supplies the Egyptian army with about $1.3 billion in aid annually.

Mubarak described Obama as a very good man, but when asked by ABC if he felt that the United States had betrayed him, he said he told the U.S. president: "You don't understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now."

Category: News , World News



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