PM Netanyahu pledges steps to boost Palestinian Authority economy

In this handout image supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with Envoy of the Quartet to the Middle East Tony Blair on February 4, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. The former British Prime Minister met with Netanyahu ahead of a meeting between Middle East Quartet mediators in Munich. (Photo by Moshe Milner/GPO via Getty Images)

Quartet Envoy Tony Blair, Prime Minister Netanyahu agree on economic incentives including alleviation of construction regulations in east Jerusalem, expanding presence of PA security forces in Area B

Feb 5 (KATAKAMI.COM / YNET) — Amid unrest in the Middle East and attempts to renew negotiations with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday informed Quartet Envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair that he will take steps to support economic growth in the Palestinian territories.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu spoke at the Knesset plenum, pledging to introduce economic measures to help boost the Palestinians’ economy.

During his meeting with Blair on Friday, the two agreed on economic gestures that include improvements to infrastru Despite the concessions, Netanyahu emphasized that peace will not be attained by only promoting “economic peace,” but rather by “engaging in negotiations for political peace, and I hope (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas answers my calls

“I insist on elements of peace and security because any agreement we reach needs to take into account not only the situation today, but also the situation that may come into being tomorrow,” he said.

The measures are meant to draw the Palestinians back to the negotiations table in order to resume direct talks.

After the meeting was concluded, Blair noted that the two agreed to extend the presence of Palestinian security forces throughout Area B in the West Bank, and advance the construction and restoration of schools and clinics in Area C based on plans that will be transferred to The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

The Quartet envoy added that Israel has agreed to support all projects in east Jerusalem that comply with municipal regulations, and that are aimed at improving the Palestinian infrastructure including in the field of housing.  (*)

Full Text of Quartet Representative Tony Blair and PM Benjamin Netanyahu's Press Conference

In this handout image supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with Envoy of the Quartet to the Middle East Tony Blair as they meet on February 4, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. The former British Prime Minister met with Netanyahu ahead of a meeting between Middle East Quartet mediators in Munich. (Photo : PMO )

Agreed to a package of economic steps designed to assist the Palestinian Authority

Feb 4 (KATAKAMI.COM ) — Statement by PM Netanyahu: Tony, I’m delighted to have this opportunity to advance our common goals.  We’ve had a series of meetings and we’re concluding with the announcement of several steps that we take to, first of all to enhance stability.   I think people understand that stability is important at all times, but it’s especially important now and the first set of steps that we’re taking are to continue the policy we’ve advanced to enable economic growth in the Palestinian areas.

I think this has contributed to stability; it’s contributed to a better life for the Palestinians and I think it’s contributing to peace and security in the long term.  So we are announcing a series of steps for the Palestinian areas that I think will make that economic prosperity and living standards rise and I think that’s important.

Well, the second set of steps are intended to make Gaza independent of Israeli infrastructure by helping to develop their electricity plants; water, sewerage treatment. I think this is important.  There are significant international projects that we want to advance.  We talked about the ways to do it in specific concrete terms.

In this handout image supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks as he meets with Envoy of the Quartet to the Middle East Tony Blair on February 4, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. The former British Prime Minister met with Netanyahu ahead of a meeting between Middle East Quartet mediators in Munich. (Photo by Moshe Milner/GPO via Getty Images)


Statement by Quartet Representative Blair:

Even against the background of events in the region and the absence of direct political negotiations, it isimportant we continue to do all we can to improve the conditions and living standards of the Palestinian people. Indeed it is now especially important.

I am pleased at the package of measures agreed today with the Government of Israel.

I thank the Prime Minister for his personal involvement in and support for these measures. The discussions we have been having go back several months. This is my seventh visit to the region in as many weeks. On each occasion the Prime Minister has been generous with his time and determined to move this agenda forward.

The package breaks into three parts:

First, a comprehensive set of changes in Gaza, building on those approved in June 2010. The most important is a long-standing request of the Palestinian Authority and President Abu Mazen for an agreement to revive discussions on the vital project of ‘Gaza Marine’ gas field, with approval in principle of the supply of Palestinian offshore gas to Gaza power plants and specific project approval to a new power station there. Clearly there are many items to be worked out but this is an important breakthrough for the Palestinian Authority, people in Gaza and the broader region.

In addition, there is agreement to mobile desalination plants to meet Gaza’s needs for clean water; and approval in principle for a larger permanent desalination plant.

There is also full approval for all the sanitation and water treatment plants necessary for Gaza, with the Government of Israel agreeing to facilitate and support the entry of construction materials to enable projects to be completed on schedule. There are further measures to promote Gaza exports, especially in furniture and textiles as well as agriculture.

A further 20 named construction projects will be approved. We aim to begin a pilot project for private sector construction materials by 1 April; and in February the Government of Israel will transfer around 40,000 tons of aggregates from Sufa/Karni into Gaza.

The combination of these measures should result, over time, in a radical overhaul of Gaza’s infrastructure.

In this regard, I would urge an end to all attacks coming out of Gaza. Such attacks inhibit our ability to help the people of Gaza and the absence of such attacks allows us to get on with the job of helping them.

On the West Bank, there will be an extension of Palestinian Authority security presence in Area B – with 7 towns approved in principle; an agreement to fast-track the construction or reconstruction of schools and health clinics in Area C on the basis of plans submitted by the Palestinian Authorityand my office to COGAT. 5000 Gaza-registered residents of the West Bank will be given WB ID cards. Outstanding issues to do with revenue collection are agreed to be resolved quickly between the Government of Israel and Palestinian Authority Finance Ministries.

Thirdly, in respect of East Jerusalem, the Government of Israel has agreed to encourage the implementation of all projects that abide by municipal regulations that will improve infrastructure there for Palestinians, including in particular housing, starting with two projects in East Jerusalem.

Obviously, agreement to all this is not the same as implementation. There is always a continual interaction on this between the Office of the Quartet Representative and the Government of Israel. But over these past two years there has been significant change on the West Bank, as can be seen from the strong economic growth there. This has been due, of course, to the Palestinian Authority’s actions; but also actions of the Government of Israel to facilitate them.

In respect of Gaza, though the challenge remains enormous, there has been a significant increase in goods entering Gaza and in construction work. The measures today will boost all of this significantly and personally I believe the green light to improving living standards and conditions of people in East Jerusalem is of enormous importance to the future.

None of this is a substitute for a credible political process. I hope one gets underway as soon as possible. But I have always maintained that it is a combination of measures that improve life on the ground and a strong political negotiation that will produce peace.

Today, with all the uncertainty in the region, I believe that more than ever.  (*)

Source : PM’s Office

Iraqi premier says he'll cut his salary by half

FILE - In this March 26, 2010 file photo, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki speaks to the press in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq's prime minister says he will return half of his annual salary to the government's treasury in a symbolic effort to balance the standard of living between the nation's rich and poor. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

BAGHDAD, Feb 5 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP)  – Iraq’s prime minister said Friday he’ll return half of his annual salary to the public treasury in a symbolic gesture that appeared calculated to insulate himself from the anti-government unrest spreading across the Middle East.

It was a stunning statement for Nouri al-Maliki, who has resisted disclosing his pay in the five years he has led Iraq. He described it as an effort to narrow the gap between the nation’s rich and poor.

Coming in the wake of popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, however, al-Maliki also seemed to be shielding himself from public bitterness over Iraq’s sagging economy and electricity shortages.

Al-Maliki narrowly secured a second term in office after months of political negotiations last year. He is believed to earn at least $360,000 annually.

“Fifty percent of my monthly salary will be reduced, starting from the current month, as a contribution from me to reduce the difference in the salaries of the state officials,” al-Maliki said in a statement Friday. “That will help limit the differences in the social living standards for different classes of the society.”

Al-Maliki also noted that his pay cut comes as Iraq’s parliament considers what the Finance Ministry projects will be a $90.5 billion spending plan for this year.

Hours earlier, Sunni and Shiite clerics used Friday sermons to warn government leaders against letting poverty, oppression and corruption become the norm — or face the consequences of the unrest that has gripped parts of the Arab world in recent weeks.

“All governments — even those which embraced democracy — have to study the essential reasons that have lead to this overwhelming popular anger against the political regimes in those countries,” said Shiite Sheik Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie, a top representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

“They have to learn the lessons from what is happening,” al-Karbalaie said.

Emboldened Iraqis staged several small protests over what they called corruption in the government’s security forces, rampant unemployment and scant electricity and water in homes.

U.S. government estimates indicate that as many as 30 percent of Iraqis are unemployed, and households nationwide have as little as three hours of electricity or running water daily because of the country’s antiquated and overloaded power grid.

Wisam Sabir, a 45-year-old activist for the al-Noor government watchdog group, said Iraq’s problems are far worse than those of some of its Arab neighbors.

“We watched the uprising in Tunisia, but the services there are better than here,” she said at a small demonstration outside the a coffee shop in central Baghdad’s Mutanabi book market.

“Where is the democracy and freedom they promised us?” she said. “This is another dictatorship.”

Menghitung Hari Sang Bayangkara Sejati Komjen Jusuf Manggabarani Yang Bersiap Tinggalkan Polri

Wakapolri Komisaris Jenderal Jusuf Manggabarani


Wawancara Eksklusif dengan WAKAPOLRI JUSUF MANGGA : Walau Gaji Sederhana, Polri Jangan Lakukan Pelanggaran

Wawancara Eksklusif dengan WAKAPOLRI JUSUF MANGGA : Tugas Kami Tingkatkan Kesejahteraan

Jakarta, 5 Februari 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM)   — Ratusan orang yang mengenal sepak terjangnya selama hampir 36 tahun mengabdi sebagai polisi (sejati) telah mengirimkan kesan dan pesan atas sosok Komisaris Jenderal Jusuf Manggabarani. Spontanitas itu terjadi menjelang akan pensiunnya Wakapolri yang dikenal sangat tegas, lurus, bersih, jujur dan pemberani ini.

Sejumlah pihak yang begitu menghormati figur Jusuf Manggabarani sudah memasuki tahap akhir pembuatan sebuah buku yang akan dihadiahkan kepada Wakapolri Komjen. Jusuf Manggabarani dalam rangka 2 momen penting di bulan Februari ini yaitu ulangtahun ke 58 pada tanggal 11 Febuari 2011 dan memasuki masa purna bhakti (pensiun).

Komjen Pol Jusuf Manggabarani lahir di Makassar 11 Februari 1953.

Ia adalah lulusan Akpol tahun 1975 dan dalam pernah bertugas di Dili, Timtim (sekarang Timor Leste) sebagai pasukan khusus anti gerilya BKO Korem mulai pangkat Letda sampai Kapten (sekarang AKP).

Sejak 1976 sampai 1982, Jusuf Manggabarani menjabat Kasat Sabhara Polwiltabes Makassar dan kemudian Dansat Brimob di Makassar dengan pangkat mayor (sekarang Kompol).

Antara tahun 1982 sampai 1988, ia masuk Sespim, kesatuan Gegana kemudian mengambil Sesko ABRI. Selanjutnya, dari tahun 1988 sampai 1994 menjabat Kapolwiltabes Makassar, Kapolwiltabes Bandung, Wakapolda Sulsel, Dansat Brimob. Jusuf pernah juga menjabat Kapoda NAD dan Kapolda Sulsel (1994-2002). Pada 2004 menjabat Kadiv Propam, pada 2005 sebagai Irwasum, dan Wakapolri pada 2010.

Wakapolri Komisaris Jenderal Jusuf Manggabarani

Ia sangat amat tertutup kepada pers.

Mau sedekat apapun berkawan dengan Jusuf Manggabarani, sepanjang ia mengetahui bahwa pihak yang dekat dengannya itu adalah jurnalis maka secara otomatis juga pria kelahiran Makassar ini akan mengunci mulutnya rapat-rapat.

Tak akan pernah ada satu wartawan pun yang bisa memancing atau mengorek secuil saja informasi berharga berkait rahasia-rahasia atau bocoran-bocoran kebijakan dalam internal Mabes Polri.

Sebab sejak beberapa tahun terakhir ini, Jusuf Manggabarani menduduki pos-pos sangat penting di Mabes Polri yaitu berturut-turut sebagai Kepala Divisi Profesi dan Pengamanan (Kadiv Propam Polri), Inspektur Jenderal Pengawasan Umum (Irwasum) dan Wakil Kepala Kepolisian Indonesia (Wakapolri).

Hari-hari menjelang masa pensiunnya per tanggal 1 Maret 2011 mendatang, Jusuf Manggabarani tetap bertugas seperti biasanya.

Misalnya berdasarnya pantauan KATAKAMI.COM pada hari Jumat (4/2/2011), Wakapolri Komjen Jusuf Manggabarani ikut menghadiri upacara penganugerahan peenghargaan dari Pemerintah Republika Indonesia (cq Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) lewat pemberian bintang tanda jasa Bhayangkara Utama untuk Kapolri Jenderal Timur Pradopo.

Sesuai upacara tersebut, Jusuf Manggabarani menerima KATAKAMI.COM secara EKSKLUSIF di ruang kerjanya selama 2 jam.

“Pak Wakapolri, sebagai wartawan saya jadi heran, atas dasar penilaian apa sehingga Presiden SBY menganugerahi Kapolri bintang tanda jasa Bhayangkara Utama. Kapolri baru bertugas 2 bulan. Masih belum ada hal-hal nyata yang bisa dilihat dan dirasakan langsung oleh masyarakat terhadap kinerja Kapolri yang baru. Ada komentar ? tanya KATAKAMI.COM.

Jusuf Manggabarani terdiam beberapa saat.

“Penghargaan ini kan diberikan oleh Pemerintah, saya tidak berwenang mengomentari. Tetapi kalau soal Bapak Kapolri, sebagai bawahan saya menilai beliau cukup bagus. Orangnya tenang dan pendiam. Tidak ada masalah” jawan Jusuf Mangabarani secara diplomatis.

“Lalu soal buku yang siap diluncurkan sebagai hadiah kepada Pak Wakapolri dari para sahabat, apakah Bapak sudah tahu ?” tanya KATAKAMI.COM kembali.

“Oh, soal buku. Ya saya sudah tahu. Saya ini tidak akan pernah mau menjual-jual diri saya seakan-akan diri saya ini hebat dan pantas membanggakan diri secara berlebihan. Tapi saya dapat laporan, ada kawan-kawan yang berinisiatif membuatkan buku. Kalau saya tidak salah, isinya itu adalah kesan-kesan dari banyak orang terhadap diri saya selama ini. Silahkan saja. Saya tidak boleh menampik dan menolak perhatian dari orang-orang yang memberikan perhatian kepada saya” jawab Jusuf Manggabarani.

Kapolri Jenderal (Pol) Timur Pradopo (tengah) di dampingi Wakapolri Komjen Jusuf Manggabarani (kiri) saat berdoa bersama sebelum menyerahkan sapi kurban secara simbolis di lapangan Bhayangkara Mabes Polri, Jakarta, Rabu (17/11) Mabes Polri menyerahkan 29 ekor hewan kurban yang terdiri dari 23 ekor sapi dan 6 ekor kambing. "Semua hewan kurban akan dibagikan kepada korban bencana Mentawai dan Merapi. (FOTO ANTARA)

Dan ketika ditanya soal kesan-kesan selama bertugas sebagai polisi selama 36 tahun, Jusuf Mangabarani menjawab sebagai berikut :

“Semua tugas saya selama 36 tahun ini berkesan. Tidak ada yang tidak berkesan. Lalu setiap bertemu saya, kamu ini selalu saja bertanya kepada saya, mengapa gaji polisi terlalu kecil ? Kalau soal gaji, sudah mulai alhamdulilah. Polri menyesuaikan dengan kemampuan negara. Jangan dibilang ini bahasa klise bahwa kemampuan keuangan negara terbatas. Ini sungguh-sungguh bahwa Polri memang menyesuaikan diri dengan kemampuan negara” ungkap Jusuf Mangga.

Lalu tentang keberadaan dirinya yang sejak belasan tahun terakhir selalu dikirim dan diandalkan oleh Pemerintah untuk terjun langsung mengatasi daerah-daerah konflik seperti Aceh dan Poso, Jusuf Mangga menjawab sebagai berikut :

“Saya selalu membawa kader-kader setiap kali saya diperintahkan menangani daerah-daerah konflik yang penuh kerusuhan. Ini berkaitan dengan prinsip LEARNING BY DOING. Saya menangani masalah kerusuhan di Poso tahun 2000-2001 dan 2009. Jadi dimanapun terjadi kerusuhan atau konflik, akar permasalahannya adalah perbedaan pendapat. Sehingga permasalahan yang menimbulkan konflik dan berbagai kerusuhan berdarah tadi harus ditangani dengan jujur, arif dan bijaksana. Jadi itulah juga yang saya lakukan sebagai penengah setiap kali mendapat perintah menangani daerah kerusuhan” jawab Jusuf Mangga.

Apa kabar putra Bapak yang menjadi pasukan khususnya Polri ?

“Oh, dia namanya Edhie Sabara Mangabarani. Beberapa hari lalu dia datang mau menemui saya tetapi ditahan dia sama Provost. Dia baru tahu rupanya kalau Bapaknya ini Wakapolri” kata Jusuf Mangga sambil tersenyum.

“Ditahan sama Provost, maksudnya bagaimana pak ?” tanya KATAKAMI.COM

“Anak saya datang ke sini. Semua tamu kan harus berhadapan dengan Provost dulu di Gedung Utama ini. Provost tanya mau bertemu siapa ? Anak saya bilang dia mau bertemu Wakapolri. Provost bilang mereka harus periksa dulu tas dan bawaan dari setiap tamu. Begitu tas anak saya dibuka, isinya senjata semua. Dia langsung dibawa ke ruangan khusus oleh Provost untuk diperiksa. Provost tanya kamu ini siapa dan mengapa membawa banyak sekali senjata ? Terpaksa anak saya mengeluarkan tanda pengenalnya. Dia jawab namanya adalah Edhie Sabara Manggabarani” tutur Jusuf Mangga sambil tertawa.

Wakapolri Komisaris Jenderal Jusuf Manggabarani

“Mengapa datang menemui Bapak sambil bawa senjata begitu banyak ?” tanya KATAKAMI.COM.

“Dia mau menunjukkan pada saya tentang beberapa contoh sejata yang mereka pakai untuk latihan. Dia kan sekarang semacam pasukan khusus di Polri ini. Mereka butuh peluru untuk latihan. Jadi dia ditugaskan atasannya untuk menerangkan kepada saya. Ini bukan KKN ya. Mereka memang menggunakan jalur resmi juga untuk meminta logistik peluru untuk latihan tetapi secara informal dirasa perlu untuk menerangkan kepada saya. Saya candai dia waktu datang kemarin. Saya bilang, kamu memang pantas ditahan Provost karena datang bawa senjata begitu banyak mau menemui Wakapolri. Jangan dipikir, bisa gampang-gampang saja kalau mau menemui Wakapolri” jawab Jusuf Mangga.

“Lho memangnya tidak bisa bertemu di rumah saja, Pak ” tanya KATAKAMI.COM.

“Saya saja tidak tahu dimana dia hari demi hari. Berteleponan saja tidak pernah. Kalau saya coba telepon, handphone-nya mati. Dia itu memang tidak pernah mau dekat sama Bapaknya ini karena nanti penilaian orang bisa macam-macam. Jadi saya baru bisa bicara dengan dia kalau dia yang menepon saya. Pak, kirim pulsa ya … pulsa saya habis. Kalau sudah kehabisan pulsa untuk telepon, barulah dia menelepon Bapaknya. Dia juga jarang datang ke rumah saya. Tapi tiba-tiba, dia bisa datang dan ketuk kamar tidur saya ” jawab Jusuf Mangga menahan geli atas perilaku anaknya.

“Apa bapak tidak kuatir tentang keberadaan dan keselamatan anak Bapak ” tanya KATAKAMI.COM.

“Kenapa saya harus kuatir ? Saya polisi, dia juga polisi. Kami sama-sama tugas. Dan saya percaya dia bisa menjaga dirinya dalam menjalankan tugas-tugasnya. Anak saya yang satu ini berbeda penampilannya. Dia pakai jenggot dan kemana-mana sering pakai celana pendek. Ya itu karena tuntutan tugasnya. Waktu kemarin dia ditugaskan atasannya datang menemui saya, dia datang pakai celana panjang. Dia tidak pakai celana pendeknya tapi jenggotnya masih tetap dipelihara” kata Jusuf Mangga.

Komisaris Jenderal Jusuf Manggabarani dengan seragam dinas BRIMOB

Untuk menutup pembicaraan dengan Jusuf Mangga, KATAKAMI.COM menanyakan tentang banyaknya kritikan sangat pedas dari masyarakat Indonesia terhadap institusi Polri yang dianggap tidak transparan dalam menyelesaikan sejumlah kasus penting. Seperti misalnya kasus mafia pajak yang melibatkan Gayus Tambunan atau kasus yang menimpa Mantan Kabareskrim Komjen Susno Duadji.

“Kalau soal kritikan maka itu jangan diartikan secara sempit. Kritikan itu menandakan bahwa harapan masyarakat kepada Polri ini sangat tinggi dan tanda bahwa di Indonesia ini sudah diterapkan demokratisasi. Tapi percayalah bahwa polisi segera berubah. Dan saat ini sudah sangat banyak perubahan di dalam tubuh Polri. Misalnya perubahan dalam rangka penataan penegakan hukum dan meningkatnya pelayanan Polri terhadap masyarakat” kata Jusuf Mangga.

Mantan Komandan Brimob ini menegaskan bahwa Polri tidak pernah menutup-nutupi kasus, termasuk yang melibatkan oknum perwira tinggi Polri.

“Kalau ada yang melakukan pelanggaran, itu bukan polisi tetapi oknum polisi. Kau harus tulis kata oknum. Saya sebagai bagian dari Polri tidak pernah menutup-nutupi kasus. Personil Brimob sebanyak 18 ribu orang, tidak pernah menutupi kasus. Personil Sabara sejumlah 36 ribu orang, tidak pernah menutupi kasus.  Lalu kalau tadi disebut nama Susno Duadji, dia terlibat didalam kasus itu. Dia bukan pahlawan, dia terlibat didalamnya. Dia tidak bersih. Justru karena Polri transparan maka dibiarkan proses hukum terjadi pada Susno. Itu penjelasan saya” kata Jusuf Mangga.

Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (berdiri, kedua dari kiri), didampingi Menkopolhukkam Djoko Suyanto (paling kiri), berfoto bersama Kapolri Jenderal Bambang Hendarso Danuri, Wakapolri Komjen Jusuf Manggabarani (duduk, kedua dari kanan), beserta para perwira tinggi Polri

Jusuf Mangga adalah seorang bhayangkara sejati.

Ia memang berwajah tanpa ekspresi, kaku dan sangat dingin. Tetapi penilaian sekilas ini memang wajar sekali sebab ia terbiasa untuk senantiasa menjaga kerahasiaan tugas dan bekerja secara profesional dalam perjalanan waktu selama hampir 36 tahun sebagai seorang abdi negara.

Wajar jika kalangan tertentu mempertanyakan kepada Presiden SBY mengapa polisi yang handal seperti Jusuf Mangga tidak masuk dalam kategori yang harus diberi tanda penghargaan.

Belasan tahun, Jusuf Mangga sangat diandalkan oleh Pemerintah setiap kali terjadi kerusuhan di berbagai daerah-daerah konflik semacam Poso dan Aceh.

Tapi Jusuf Mangga selalu terlihat rendah hati dan memegang teguh prinsip hidupnya bahwa pengabdian tidak mengenal batas ruang dan waktu. Pengabdian tak menuntut tanda jasa. Pengabdian adalah pengabdian. Totalitas dalam mengabdi harus dipersembahkan kepada bangsa, negara dan rakyat Indonesia dengan satu misi yang jelas yaitu tanpa pamrih.

Terimakasih Jenderal, anda adalah polisi sejati yang pantas untuk dihormati dan dikenang sebagai seorang bhayangkara yang menjaga secara baik jati diri polisi dan nama baik institusi selama 36 tahun mengabdi.

Dan selamat ulang tahun, Jenderal Jusuf Mangga.

Selamat menjalani babak baru pengabdian pasca purna bhakti nanti.


Husband of Wounded US Lawmaker to Return to Space

This January 9, 2011 photo released by Congressworman Gabrielle Giffords' office shows Mark Kelly, Giffords' husband, holding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) hand in her hospital room at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords remains in critical condition after being shot in the head after a gunman opened fire during a political event in Tucson on Saturday. (Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Office/Handout )

Feb 5 (KATAKAMI.COM / VOA) — NASA says astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of wounded U.S. lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords, will return to command the space shuttle Endeavour on its final mission in April.

The space agency says Kelly will resume training Monday for the trip to the International Space Station.

At a press conference, Kelly said Giffords’ ability to improve rapidly from a bullet wound in the head influenced his decision to rejoin the mission. He said he originally thought her pace of improvement would be much slower, and that he questioned his future as an astronaut.

Kelly would not share details on Giffords’ condition or prognosis, except to say that doctors think she will make a “really good” recovery.

A NASA official, Brent Jett, said he is glad Kelly is returning to command the mission. He said he is confident Kelly will not be distracted by his wife’s health situation.

Giffords was shot in the head while meeting with constituents in Tuscon, Arizona nearly a month ago.

Giffords was recently moved from Tucson to a rehabilitation hospital in Houston, where Kelly trains at the Johnson Space Center.

Six people were killed in the Arizona shooting rampage on January 8, including a U.S. federal judge and a nine-year-old girl.

Scott Kelly, Mark Kelly’s twin brother and fellow astronaut, said this week he is “absolutely 100 percent confident” his brother will be able to fulfill his responsibilities if he chooses to fly Endeavour. Scott Kelly is the current commander of the International Space Station.

NASA is retiring its shuttle fleet this year.  (*)

Husband: Giffords would be OK with flight decision

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband, space shuttle astronaut Mark Kelly, are seen in an undated handout photo provided by her Congressional campaign, January 8, 2011. Giffords was hit in a shooting on Saturday at a public event of the Congresswoman's at a Tucson, Arizona grocery store that also injured at least nine other people, hospital and law enforcement sources said. REUTERS/Giffords for Congress/PK Weis/Handout

HOUSTON, Feb 5 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP)  – The astronaut husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said his wife would be “very comfortable” with his decision to go back into space and he expects her to be at his launch in April.

Space shuttle commander Mark Kelly wouldn’t go into details about her condition during a news conference Friday, and deflected questions about how he knows she supports his choice to fly.

“I know her very well and she would be very comfortable with the decision that I made,” Kelly said.

Kelly stepped down from training after Giffords was gunned down in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8. His decision to resume training for space shuttle Endeavour’s mission was announced earlier Friday.

He said he plans for his wife to be at Cape Canaveral, Fla., for liftoff, targeted for April 19.

“I have every intention that she’ll be there for launch. I’ve talked to her doctors about that,” he said.

It will be Endeavour’s final flight and the fourth spaceflight for Kelly.

Kelly said the congresswoman continues to improve in rehab in Houston. One doctor has described her recovery as “lightning speed.” She’s kept very busy with therapy, a key to his decision, he said.

The 40-year-old Giffords was in intensive care for two weeks in Arizona, with Kelly at her bedside, before she was transferred to Houston for what is expected to be a lengthy rehabilitation. Kelly wanted her as close to him as possible, if he returned to work at Johnson Space Center. He lives in the Houston area with his two teenage daughters from a previous marriage, Claudia and Claire.

Giffords was meeting with constituents outside a Tucson supermarket when she was shot in the head. Six people were killed and 13 were injured in the rampage; a 22-year-old suspect is in custody.

Kelly, 46, said he initially expected to step down as commander of Endeavour. As he agonized over the decision, NASA named a backup commander, Rick Sturckow, who joined the crew for training. Kelly said all along that he wanted his wife’s input in the matter, if at all possible.

Specific details of Giffords’ recovery have not been released, including whether she’s able to speak. Last week, doctors said she would have a valve inserted into her breathing tube to help her talk. They said she could breathe on her own but they weren’t going to remove the tube immediately. She was shot in the left side of her brain and doctors have said she had weakness on her right side.

Her hospital, TIRR Memorial Hermann, last week said it would not provide any more information on her condition. In a Twitter update Wednesday, Mark Kelly said Giffords is making “Lots of progress!”

Kelly — whose identical twin Scott currently is commander of the International Space Station — has flown three times aboard space shuttles. He will lead a veteran, all-male, American-Italian crew to the International Space Station.

There’s considerable training between now and the April 19 launch target date, almost certainly with long hours and few days off for the crew. The six astronauts will go into quarantine a week before the launch, with limited access to family members.

“I obviously weighed time I could spend with her over time I could spend with NASA and my crew,” he said on Friday.

Kelly’s mission already was set to be one of the highest profile shuttle flights ever. It will be Endeavour’s last voyage and the next-to-last for the entire 30-year shuttle program, and will feature the delivery of an elaborate physics experiment by a Nobel prize winner.

Endeavour was originally scheduled to launch last July, but was bumped into 2011 because the experiment wasn’t ready.

“I’m not going to second guess his decision for anything. I respect his decision, I’m sure it’s the decision that Gabby would have wanted him to make and I’m sure he has the support of his family and friends there,” said former astronaut Susan Still Kilrain, who gave up her astronaut career when she had the first of her four children.

Susan Hileman, who was wounded in Tucson, trusts Kelly’s decision. She was holding 9-year-old Christina Green’s hand when the shooting erupted. The girl was killed.

“I’m sure this decision was carefully made and thoughtfully made, and right for him and for them,” said Hileman, who was shot three times. “He’s kind and thoughtful and he loves his wife as much as my husband loves me, which is a lot, and we’re both lucky women to have such strong men in our lives.”

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron, who married Giffords and Kelly in 2007, said the couple has been communicating but she didn’t elaborate.

“I think that once he saw that Gabby was so strong and on the mend …. that he made the decision based on, I’m sure, what her wishes would be,” Aaron said.  (*)

Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with Hosni Mubarak

FILE : Dmitry Medvedev and Hosni Mubarak at a joint news conference on the results of bilateral talks ( June 25, 2009 )

Feb 3 (KATAKAMI.COM) — The Russian President expressed his wish and hope that the current difficult period in the life of the friendly Egypt will soon be resolved through a peaceful and legal settlement of existing problems.

The Russian leader noted the importance of guaranteeing the security of the Russian Embassy in Cairo and the Russian citizens who are currently in Egypt, and expressed his gratitude for the measures that have already been taken by the Egyptian leadership in this regard.  (*)


Medvedev wishes friendly Egypt early end to no easy period

Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Hosni Mubarak.

February 3 (KATAKAMI.COM / Itar-Tass) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed his “wish and hope the current difficult period in the life of friendly Egypt will be soon overcome as a result of peaceful and legal settlement of the existing problems.” He was speaking on Thursday in a telephone conversation with President Hosni Mubarak, the Kremlin press service said.

The Russian president also noted “the importance of maintaining the security of the Russian embassy in Cairo and of the citizens of the Russian Federation, which are currently in Egypt,” and expressed gratitude “for the measures already taken by the Egyptian leadership in this regard.”  (*)

Hosni Mubarak says he won't quit early

In this image from Egyptian state television aired Tuesday evening Feb 1 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak makes what has been billed as an important speech. Mubarak has faced a week of public and international pressure to step down from the role he has held for 30 years, culminating in a day when a quarter-million people turned in the largest protest yet to demand his ouster. (AP Photo/Egyptian state television via APTN)

CAIRO, Feb 4 (KATAKAMI.COM / Reuters) – President Hosni Mubarak ruled out resigning immediately to end a violent confrontation over his 30-year-rule, arguing this would bring chaos to Egypt, but the New York Times said the Obama administration was in talks with Egyptian officials for him to quit now.

Speaking in an interview with ABC Thursday, after bloodshed in Cairo that killed 10 people, the 82-year-old leader said he believed his country still needed him.

“If I resign today, there will be chaos,” he said. Asked to comment on calls for him to resign, he said: “I don’t care what people say about me. Right now I care about my country.”

The New York Times said Friday the administration of President Barack Obama was discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for Mubarak to resign immediately.

Under the proposal, Mubarak would turn power over to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military, the newspaper said, citing administration officials and Arab diplomats.

Facing an unprecedented challenge to his rule from Egyptians angered by political repression, Mubarak has promised to stand down in September, appointed his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as vice-president, and offered talks on reforms.

But that has failed to satisfy protesters who are hoping to rally thousands of Egyptians Friday for a fresh demonstration to try to force Mubarak to quit now.

With the confrontation turning increasingly violent — protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square were attacked by Mubarak supporters Wednesday — the United States has increased pressure on Mubarak to begin the transition of power now.

Protesters in Tahrir (Liberation) Square — which has become the hub of pro-democracy demonstrations — were hoping to be joined by thousands more for a big demonstration they are calling the “Friday of Departure.”

Organizers called on people to march from wherever they were toward the square, the state television building and the parliament building — all within around a mile of one another in the heart of the city.

The U.S. State Department said it expected confrontation in what would be the 11th day of protests.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Washington believed elements close to the government or Mubarak’s ruling party were responsible for the violence which erupted on Wednesday. The Interior Ministry has denied it ordered its agents or officers to attack anti-Mubarak protesters.


In a move to try to calm the disorder, Vice President Omar Suleiman said Thursday the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most organized opposition movement, had been invited to meet with the new government as part of a national dialogue with all parties.

An offer to talk to the banned group would have been unthinkable before protests erupted on January 25, indicating progress made by the reformist movement since then. However, the opposition has refused talks until Mubarak goes.

The United States, which supplies the Egyptian army — Mubarak’s power base — with about $1.3 billion in aid annually — is struggling to find a solution to the crisis which does not exacerbate instability in the Arab world’s most populous nation.

The White House said Thursday Washington was discussing with Egyptians a “variety of different ways” of moving toward a peaceful transition in Egypt.

Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said President Barack Obama has said now is the time to begin “a peaceful, orderly and meaningful transition, with credible, inclusive negotiations.”

The New York Times said the U.S. proposal called for a transitional government to invite members from a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to begin work to open up the country’s electoral system in an effort to bring about free and fair elections in September.

Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, has been a key U.S. ally in the Middle East. Mubarak had also justified his use of emergency rule as needed to curb Islamist militancy in a country where al Qaeda had its ideological roots.

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.”

An estimated 150 people have died in the protests, which were inspired by events in Tunisia, where its leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee last month.

Oil prices have climbed on fears the unrest could spread to affect oil giant Saudi Arabia or interfere with oil supplies from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal.  (*)

Quartet to meet in shadow of Cairo crisis

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Benny Begin, a member of Netanyahu's cabinet, attend a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem February 2, 2011. Netanyahu voiced support for pro-democracy protesters in Egypt for the first time on Tuesday but urged the international community to ensure any new regime sticks by Israel's peace treaty. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Feb 4 (KATAKAMI / JPOST) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Tony Blair ahead of upcoming meeting in Munich; tells Knesset of efforts to boost Palestinian economy.

Netanyahu met late Thursday evening with Quartet envoy Tony Blair in advance of the Quartet’s high-level meeting in Munich Saturday, to discuss a package of Israeli steps aimed at encouraging the Palestinian economy.

This was Netanyahu’s third meeting with Blair in as many weeks, and was expected to deal with various economic projects.

Netanyahu, during a speech in the Knesset on Wednesday, said that “in the next few days, I plan to take additional steps to further encourage development and prosperity among the Palestinians.”

He did not elaborate.
Government officials have said in recent days that the package being developed is not an effort to deflect expected criticism from the Quartet over the stymied diplomatic process, but an extension of Netanyahu’s policy of enhancing Israeli-Palestinian economic cooperation.

In his Knesset speech, Netanyahu said, “We have gone to great lengths to help the Palestinian economy, not as an alternative to the political peace that we want to negotiate with them, but as a contribution to stability and to help the Palestinian population understand that there is a lot to be gained from peace.”

In that speech, Netanyahu also had another message that was clearly intended for the Quartet and the international community, this one regarding the turmoil in Egypt.

“We expect any government of Egypt to honor the peace,” he said.

“Moreover, we expect the international community to expect any government of Egypt to honor the peace. This must be clear, along with the discussions about reform and democracy.”

The Quartet meeting will be held Saturday on the sidelines of the threeday Munich Conference on Security Policy, a high-level conference that brings together senior officials from around the world to discuss security challenges. The current volatility in Egypt and the Middle East will certainly be a main topic of discussion.

This will be the highestlevel Quartet meeting since September, on the eve of the expiration of the 10-month settlement freeze. In the statement issued after that meeting, the Quartet called on Israel to renew the freeze.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon are expected to attend Saturday’s meeting, along with Blair.

In a related matter, Reuters reported Thursday that the EU had agreed to waive a visa ban on new Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to attend the Munich security parley.

Salehi, an MIT-trained nuclear physicist who has been intimately involved with Iran’s nuclear program for years and is a close confidant of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is considered a hawk on the nuclear issue. It is not clear, however, if he will actually attend the meeting.

Salehi is on a list of Iranians barred from entering the EU.
Sources in Jerusalem expressed regret at the move, saying this was an opportunity for the EU to send a strong message that it stood by the integrity of its own sanctions regime.



Excerpt of PM Netanyahu's Speech in Knesset

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem February 2, 2011. Netanyahu voiced support for pro-democracy protesters in Egypt for the first time on Tuesday but urged the international community to ensure any new regime sticks by Israel's peace treaty. REUTERS/Baz Ratner



Yesterday was a dramatic day in our region.  Millions of people poured into the streets of Egypt.  President Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for 30 years, announced that he will not run in the next Presidential elections, and will work to introduce governmental reforms in Egypt.In Washington, London, Paris, and throughout the democratic world, leaders, analysts and researchers spoke about the opportunities that change in Egypt could bring.  They spoke about the promise of a new day.

These hopes are understandable.  All those who cherish human liberty, including the people of Israel, are inspired by genuine calls for reform and by the possibility that it will take place.

It is obvious that an Egypt that fully embraces the 21st century and that adopts these reforms would be a source of great hope for the entire world, the region and for us.

In Israel, we know the value of democratic institutions and the significance of liberty.  We know the value of independent courts that protect the rights of individuals and the rule of law; we appreciate of the value of a free press, and of a parliamentary system with a coalition and an opposition.

It is clear that an Egypt that rests on these institutions, an Egypt that is anchored in democratic values, would never be a threat to peace.  On the contrary, if we have learned anything from modern history, it is that the stronger the foundations of democracy, the stronger the foundations of peace.  Peace among democracies is strong, and democracy strengthens the peace.

One possible scenario, which undoubtedly unites us all, is that these hopes for democracy and a gradual, stable reform process are realized in Egypt.

However, this is not the only possible scenario.  Because far away from Washington, Paris, London – and not so far from Jerusalem – is another capital in which there are hopes.

In this capital, there are leaders who can also see the opportunities that change in Egypt could bring.  They also support the millions who took to the streets.  They too speak about the promise of a new day.  But for the people in this capital, the promise of a new day is not in its dawn but in the darkness it can bring.

That capital is Tehran, and I assure you, that the leaders in Iran are not interested in the genuine desires of Egyptians for freedom, liberalization or reform, any more than they were interested in answering similar calls for freedom by the Iranian people, their own people, only 18 months ago.

I’ll jog your memory.  They too had demonstrations; multitudes filled the town squares.  But, of course it progressed in a different way.  I was going to say that it finished differently but I’m not sure it’s over.

The Iranian regime is not interested in seeing an Egypt that protects the rights of individuals, women, and minorities.  They are not interested in an enlightened Egypt that embraces the 21st century.  They want an Egypt that returns to the Middle Ages.

They want Egypt to become another Gaza, run by radical forces that oppose everything that the democratic world stands for.

We have two separate worlds here, two opposites, two world views: that of the free, democratic world and that of the radical world. Which one of them will prevail in Egypt?

The answer to this question is crucial to the future of Egypt, of the region and to our own future here in Israel.

Our stand is clear.  We support the forces that promote freedom, progress and peace. We oppose the forces that seek to enforce a dark despotism, terrorism and war.

Should the forces that wish to carefully reform and democratize Egypt prevail, I am convinced that such positive change would also buttress a wider Arab-Israeli peace.  But we are not there yet.

First of all, this battle has yet to be decided.  Second, it is possible that it will be a long while before one of the forces achieves victory, and we may have many years of instability.  Third, recent history shows us many cases in the Middle-East when extreme Islamist elements abused the rules of the democratic game to gain power and impose anti-democratic regimes.

It happened in Iran; it happened in Lebanon; and it happened when the Hamas took over the Gaza Strip.  Does Iran enjoy freedom?  Is there a real democracy in Gaza?  Does Hezbollah promote human rights?

We must ensure that this does not happen again.  We must do everything in our power to ensure that peace triumphs.

I want to pass on something to you, Members of Knesset, something I spoke about yesterday.  I want to clarify a point that maybe young Israelis don’t understand, but most of us, probably all of us, understand very well.

For over 30 years we have enjoyed peace on two fronts.  One is a peaceful border with Egypt, and the second – the peaceful border with Jordan.

In effect, our peaceful border with Jordan ceased to be a border of war about 40 years ago.  First we had calm, and then we had peace.  With Egypt it happened the other way around.  But on both fronts we have enjoyed peace along the borders and not merely lack of war.  We have not had to defend these borders.  And there are people here who remember what that means for us.

I see Avi Dichter here, and Shaul Mofaz, Matan Vilnai and many others.  We remember what it was like when there was no peace.  How we fought in the Suez Canal, on the banks of the Canal, inside it, and in Jordan.  We fought, all of us.  That’s over now.  It has changed the world and it has changed the State of Israel.  It changed our strategic situation.  That is why preserving the existing peace is vital for us.

We expect any government of Egypt to honor the peace.  Moreover, we expect the international community to expect any government of Egypt to honor the peace.  This must be clear, along with the discussions about reform and democracy.

We must also humbly recognize the truth – that these immense revolutions, these dramatic changes, this earthquake – none of this is about us.  It is about central questions which we will discuss some other time.

I don’t think we need to discuss all the details of this turmoil now.  But I will say one thing: we are in a turbulent situation.  In such situations we must look around with our eyes wide open.  We must identify things as they are, not as we’d like them to be.  We must not try to force reality into a preconceived pattern.  We must accept that a huge change is taking place, and while it is happening – keep a watchful eye.

The basis for our stability and our future, for preserving or extending the peace, especially during unsteady times, is by reinforcing the might of the State of Israel.  That requires security and also for us to be honest with ourselves.

To be honest with ourselves and refrain from self-flagellation on account of the problems we are surrounded with and the changes that are taking place.  It is easy to blame ourselves for these and also for the Palestinian issue, which I will discuss shortly.

Because when we blame ourselves, we feel that we are in control, that developments depend on us.  Otherwise, there are those who feel helpless when faced with these changes.

If there is no peace, or peace shatters, because of us, we can do something about it to change the way things are. If it is up to the other party or parties we have less influence over the situation.

I don’t mean that we blame ourselves.  It’s more about blaming our leadership.  As it happens, I am the leader now, but we’ve had seven prime ministers.  We have replaced seven Prime Ministers since Oslo, Camp David and Annapolis, and we continue to blame ourselves.  So is there any wonder that the world blames us too?

I said that we are willing and we want to promote the peace process with the Palestinians.  I have said that the first two components of this peace process are mutual recognition and security.  If I may quote myself from upon this platform, I have said numerous times that we need real security arrangements.  Not only because they sustain peace, but also because they ensure our security in the event that peace unravels — and in the Middle-East no one can guarantee the survival of any regime.

If I’m not mistaken, I said that only last week or two weeks ago.  I said it because a peace agreement, a piece of paper, does not guarantee that the peace will be upheld, not does it guarantee that a partner for peace will survive.  Therefore, to protect the agreement and to protect ourselves if the peace were to disappear or be breached, or if one of the sides has a change in government, we need strong, solid security arrangements.

That was and is the central issue that I discussed with President Abbas in our short conversation. Short, not because we didn’t want to talk – everybody knows that we did, the world knows that we wanted to – but because he did not want to.

We have taken great lengths to help the Palestinian economy, not as an alternative to the political peace that we want to negotiate with them, but as a contribution to stability and to help the Palestinian population understand that there is a lot to be gained from peace.

In the next few days, I plan to take additional steps to further encourage development and prosperity among the Palestinians.

I hope that President Abbas will regard the changes taking place in the region as an opportunity to sit down with us and discuss peace without preconditions, negotiations that take into account changes that will affect Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  We want to have genuine, comprehensive discussions about the right way to establish a stable and durable peace in an unstable region, peace that can weather the storms of this turbulent region.

Israelis and Palestinians have many differences between them.  But there is only one way to resolve those differences – a negotiated settlement, not through unilateral steps.

There are many skeptics out there. They say Israeli governments and their maximalist positions on concessions do not coincide with the minimalist positions of the Palestinians.  It is possible, they say, that the gap between Israel and the Palestinians may be too wide to bridge.  They might be right.

But if we do not try, we will surely not succeed.  And we cannot try until we sit down, and we cannot sit down if they do not want to.

I hope President Abbas will join me in a sincere effort to explore the possibility of a practical peace with practical security arrangements in the reality in which we find ourselves — for the sake of Israelis and Palestinians and our common future.

In this reality, Israel must fortify its might. We must maintain our security.  We must strive for a stable peace with determination, caution, responsibility, and above all, with watchful eyes that recognize reality.



Palestinian PM Blames Egypt Turmoil on Failed Mideast Talks

French president Nicolas Sarkozy (C) shakes hands with Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad prior to a meeting on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Feb 3 (KATAKAMI.COM / VOA) — Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process was one of the root causes of the bloody upheaval in Egypt.

Speaking during a visit to Paris, Fayyad said the violent unrest in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East stemmed from internal problems as well as “frustration” with the failure to solve the Palestinian issue.

Fayyad was holding dinner talks Thursday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to review progress following a 2007 donors conference that pledged $7.7 billion in aid to Palestinians.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said earlier in the day that France was ready to organize a second such conference on the condition that it include a “political dimension” leading to a future Palestinian state.  (*)

Photostream : French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

French president Nicolas Sarkozy (L) shakes hands with Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad after a meeting on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) shakes hands with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (L) as he arrives for a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris February 3, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

French president Nicolas Sarkozy (C) shakes hands with Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad prior to a meeting on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad answers journalists' questions after a meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad answers journalists' questions after a meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy on February 3, 2011 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt's prime minister apologizes and vows probe into violence

Military leaves, clashes heat up again

Cairo, Egypt, Feb 3 (KATAKAMI.COM / CNN) — Egypt’s new prime minister apologized repeatedly Thursday for the previous day’s “catastrophe” in Cairo, blaming infiltrators and a “complete disappearance” of police for the human toll.

Interior Minister Habib Adli, whose office oversees Egypt’s police forces, was among several former officials of President Hosni Mubarak’s government whose assets were frozen, state-run television said. The officials have been banned from traveling outside the country.

The travel ban will remain in effect “until national security is restored and the authorities and monitoring bodies have undergone their investigations,” Nile TV said.

Ahmed Shafiq, appointed prime minister last Saturday, pledged a thorough investigation into Wednesday’s violence in Tahrir Square, the downtown Cairo plaza where the uprising has unfolded with force.

“This group got in and some clashes happened,” he said, adding that he would look into whether the violence was part of an organized attempt to disband the opposition.

Even as he spoke, foes and supporters of Mubarak’s government continued clashing in Tahrir Square. Pro-Mubarak crowds were smaller Thursday but tension still ran high as people hurled rocks and flashbangs at each other.

The two sides faced off all through the night and earlier Thursday, heavy gunfire reverberated in central Cairo. The military maneuvered to separate the two sides but in the afternoon, in parts of the square, the soldiers were nowhere to be seen.

Scores of bandaged demonstrators remained in the square. At least five people were killed and 836 injured, including 200 within one hour Thursday morning, Egypt’s health minister said on Nile TV.

In Washington, President Barack Obama addressed the Egyptian crisis, now in its 10th day, at the National Prayer Breakfast.

“We pray that the violence in Egypt will end, and that the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realized, and that a better day will dawn over Egypt and throughout the world,” he said.

Obama’s comments came after the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain issued a statement urging a “rapid and peaceful transition” and European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton called on Mubarak to act “as quickly as possible” on that transition.

Mubarak announced last week that he would not run again in September elections. His newly appointed Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said Mubarak’s son, Gamal — who was being groomed as his successor — will also not seek the post.

But many of the protesters are demanding an immediate end to Mubarak’s rule.

Shafiq appealed to his compatriots, especially Egypt’s youth, to show patience as the government’s leadership goes through the transitional period.

“It has great meaning not to hurt each other, hurt our reputation,” he said. “Do they want what happened in Tunisia to happen here?” Shafiq said, referring to the revolt in Tunisia that ousted the nation’s longtime strongman and served as inspiration for other nations in the region that have seen similar demonstrations.

Shafiq said he and newly-appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman were to meet with the opposition — including protesters in Tahrir Square. He said no one would be excluded from the national dialog, including the Muslim Brotherhood, an outlawed Islamist umbrella group.

But spokesman Essam El-Erian, said the Muslim Brotherhood will not participate in talks with the regime.

“We refuse to sit with him,” El-Erian said Thursday, referring to Suleiman.

Other key opposition groups have also rejected meeting invitations, including the secular liberal Wafd Party and the Al-Ghad party, led by former presidential candidate Ayman Nour.

Journalists covering the crisis have also become targets — beaten, bloodied, harassed and detained by men, most all in some way aligned with Mubarak. Numerous news outlets — including the BBC, ABC News and CNN — reported members of their staffs had been attacked, most on the streets of Cairo.

In several cases, news personnel were accused of being “foreign spies,” seized, whisked away, and often assaulted. A spokesman for the United States blasted forces in Egypt who have harassed, detained and beaten journalists.

“There is a concerted campaign to intimidate international journalists in Cairo and interfere with their reporting,” U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Thursday on Twitter. “We condemn such actions.”
Early Thursday, sustained fire from automatic weapons, including from what sounded like a heavy machine gun, echoed around the square.

Anti-government demonstrators hunkered down behind makeshift barricades and small fires burned in the square, with some spreading to trees and walls. Chunks of concrete and Molotov cocktails flew as the crisis escalated.

In the nation’s second-largest city of Alexandria, however, some signs of normalcy could be seen Thursday as trams returned to the streets for the first time in days.

A group of fishermen said they wanted life to get back to normal and one Mubarak supporter said the protests in Cairo were humiliating.

Mubarak loyalists, who had been largely silent since the unrest began, came out in full force Wednesday — in one case wielding whips and thundering through the crowd on horses and camels.

“What you are seeing is the demonstration of the real Egyptian people who are trying to take back their country, trying to take back their street,” said businessman Khaled Ahmed, who described himself as “pro-Egyptian.”

But some observers said the pro-Mubarak push Wednesday was likely orchestrated by a regime bent on breaking up peaceful demonstrations.

“These are tactics that are well-known in Egypt,” Michele Dunne, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told CNN’s John King.

It was unclear whether confrontations were being repeated elsewhere. Other Cairo neighborhoods were calm, and rallies in Egypt’s second-largest city, Alexandria, were largely peaceful.

Cairo resident Waleed Tawfik noted that Tahrir Square is the size of a football stadium, and the events there are not representative of peaceful protests elsewhere.

“There are 29 governors in Egypt,” Tawfik said. “I don’t understand why the whole international media is focused on a geographic area around about a half-kilometer by a half-kilometer.”

He professed neutrality on Mubarak, but said the man who has ruled Egypt for three decades should be allowed to finish his term.

“I’d be worried if the president packed up and left at the request of 60,000 people,” Tawfik said. “Eighty-four million is a larger voice … (to) reconstruct the government and reshuffle ministers won’t happen over day and night.”


British Foreign Secretary comments on violence in Egypt

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague

Foreign Secretary William Hague said that real and visible change, needs to take place, and needs to begin now.

Feb 3 (KATAKAMI / FCO.GOV.UK) — Speaking today on BBC Radio 4 the Foreign Secretary said:

“We want a stable and democratic country in Egypt, that’s what’s in the national interest of the United Kingdom. An orderly transition to a broadly based Government of free and fair elections, to real and visible change, needs to take place, and it needs to begin now so that they can work out those differences for themselves in a sovereign nation, having their arguments with each other but in a peaceful way. We continue to place the pressure on them to get on with that as rapidly as possible.”

On reports that the regime sponsored violence against protestors the Foreign Secretary said:

“I don’t have any evidence either way, but if it turns out that the regime in Egypt has in any way sponsored violence against peaceful protest that would be totally unacceptable. In the last hour I’ve spoken to the President’s son, Gamal Mubarak, on the telephone and said that if it turned out that there was state sponsored violence here that would be catastrophic for Egypt and for those who are in Government now.”

“We’ll continue to work with our partners in the EU and with the United States to try to push things in the right direction.”



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