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Suleiman rules himself out as potential presidential candidate

world Updated: Feb 06, 2011 22:36 IST
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Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman who is leading the regime's negotiations with the opposition has ruled himself out of presidential contention, saying he is an "old man" with no urge to run for the top post.

The former intelligence chief, who was picked up by President Hosni Mubarak, to lead the government's efforts to address the crisis in Egypt, reaffirmed that the roadmap was to bring about an orderly and meaningful transition towards greater democratic reforms.

"No, no. According to this constitution, I cannot. I am not from any party. I'm not belonging to any party or to
any group, which I cannot be (presidential) candidate as a constitution," Suleiman told ABC news when asked about the
possibility of him being the country's next president.

The interview taken early this week was aired today as landmark negotiations began between the regime and the opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

"I'm became old man (sic). I did a lot for the country. I have no urges for to be president of this country. When the President (Hosni Mubarak) asked me to be Vice President, I accepted directly just to help the president in
this critical time," he said in response to a question.

Suleiman and the opposition leaders today agreed to accomplish a study of constitutional reforms and suggest amendments by the first week of March, apart of a number of other steps to address the demands of the people.

Suleiman is leading the Mubarak regime's effort to hold talks with the pro-democracy protesters who are demanding
the resignation of 82-year-old Mubarak who has ruled the country for three decades now.

"I want the opposition to understand that, in this limited time, we can do what President Mubarak has said, and we cannot do more, and when a new president will come, you will have more time to make any changes you want," the 74-year-old said.

Appearing on the same show, the Egyptian Ambassador to the United States, Sameh Shoukry, termed today negotiations a very important development.

"The roadmap continues to be an orderly and meaningful transition to greater democratic reforms, meeting the aspirations of the Egyptian people in terms of their economic well-being, and continuing to prepare for the transition for the next presidential election," he said.