Mubarak speech fails to deal with crisis: HRW

Human Rights Watch warned Friday that a speech by President Hosni Mubarak promising reforms failed to address the political crisis in Egypt and blamed the army for defending his “repressive regime.”

Mubarak addressed the nation on Thursday and, while he delegated powers to his vice president, said he would stay nominally in charge, dashing the hopes of hundreds of thousands of protesters who have called for his resignation.

“Cosmetic changes are not enough to meet the Egyptian people’s demands for democracy and human rights,” he said.

Mubarak proposed consitutional amendments before handing power over to his deputy Omar Suleiman, who pledged to implement reforms.

The New York-based watchdog said Egyptian authorities need to lift the decades-old emergency law, start a process of democratic transition “indpendent of the current government”, and end torture.

It also criticised the army for supporting the regime.

“The Egyptian military, long an integral part of the government, has been a key actor in creating and defending the repressive system currently in place in Egypt,” HRW said.