Egypt

We'll look after reform, Egyptian army tells protesters

Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt's army has pledged to guarantee democratic elections and lift emergency laws, once the current unrest is over. The move seen as an endorsement of President Hosni Mubarak's decision not to step down.► Egyptians prepare to unleash day of anger on defiant MubarakProtesters shocked by Mubarak's television address

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Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

The statement, from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, was read out on state television on Friday. The army says it supports Mubarak's plan for a gradual transition of power to a successor  to be elected in September.

It pledged to "safeguard the legitimate demands of the people" for constitutional reform and democratic freedoms.

Egypt's 30-year state of emergency will be lifted "as soon as current circumstances end", the statement said, urging "a return to normal life".

Those calling for reform will not be arrested, the army stressed, but warned against any "harm to the safety and security of the nation".

There have been fears that demonstrators could be brought into direct conflict with soldiers as they threaten to launch their most vigorous protests yet in response to Mubarak's refusal to resign.

The army's statement, dubbed "Communique Number Two", was read out to protesters gathered outside Mubarak's palace in north-east Cairo, where crowds have been gathering since his speech on Thursday.

The army's "Communique Number One", delivered on Thursday night, promised protesters that all their demands would be met, raising hopes that Mubarak would announce his departure.

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