Military in Egypt pledge transition of power

ITN News

by ITN News

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Egypt's military leaders have said the existing cabinet will stay until a new one is formed and that the country would respect international treaties, a statement that will reassure Israel and the United States.

"The current government and governors undertake to manage affairs until the formation of a new government," a senior army officer said in a statement delivered on state television, a day after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down.

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

Egypt's treaties include a 1979 peace accord with US ally Israel, which has been watching developments in Egypt with concern.

The army also announced that it would "look to guarantee the peaceful transition of power in the framework of a free, democratic system which allows an elected, civilian power to govern the country to build a democratic, free state".

Pro-democracy activists in Cairo's Tahrir Square have vowed to stay there until the Higher Military Council, now running Egypt after the overthrow of Mubarak, accepts their agenda for democratic reform.

Crowds celebrated in the square while organisers urged the army to meet demands including the dissolution of a fraudulently elected parliament and the lifting of a 30-year-old state of emergency used by Mubarak to crush opposition and dissent.

The army dismantled checkpoints on Saturday around Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the protest movement, and some makeshift barricades were being removed. Volunteers cleaned up while a carnival atmosphere lingered.