ONTD Political

Egypt opposition rejects President Morsi's call for talks

5:43 pm - 12/07/2012

Egyptian opposition leaders have rejected calls by President Mohammed Morsi to enter a national dialogue.

Mr Morsi, under fire for issuing a decree that gives him sweeping new powers, had invited all major political factions to a meeting on Saturday.

But the opposition said the president had offered little in terms of concessions, criticising his refusal to delay a constitutional referendum.

The announcement comes as Egypt is braced for another day of protests.

Opposition demonstrators gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square, with some heading towards the presidential palace.

Meanwhile thousands of supporters of President Morsi marched during the funerals of two men killed in clashes on Wednesday.

The main opposition movement said on Friday it would not take part in Saturday's talks.

The National Salvation Front is not taking part in the dialogue, that is the official stance," spokesman Ahmed Said confirmed in a statement.

Nobel prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, the movement's chief co-ordinator, posted a message on his Twitter account calling on political groups to shun all dialogue with Mr Morsi.

"We [want] a dialogue not based on an arm-twisting policy and imposing fait accompli," his message read.

Deep divisions

Two other opposition groups, the liberal Wafd party and the National Association for Change, said they were also boycotting the talks, state media report.

The president angered his opponents on Thursday when he refused in a televised statement to withdraw his new powers and delay a referendum on Egypt's draft constitution. The vote is due to be held on 15 December.

Opposition leaders said Mr Morsi had missed a historic chance for compromise.

Egypt has been plunged into crisis since he issued a decree on 22 November stripping the judiciary of any power to challenge his decisions.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says the growing tensions reveal deep divisions within the Muslim Brotherhood.

Whenever there is talk of compromise, the movement's hardliners seem to win the battle, our correspondent reports. Critics say Mr Morsi is not acting as president of the whole country, but rather as a delegate of the Muslim Brotherhood.

New clashes have been reported on Friday between supporters and opponents of President Morsi outside a mosque in the city of Alexandria.

The April 6 movement, an activist group that played a major role in last year's revolt against former President Hosni Mubarak, said on its Facebook page that protests on Friday would deliver a "red card" to Mr Morsi.

Other opposition groups also called for protests after Friday prayers across Egypt.

Earlier this week, thousands of protesters fought outside the presidential palace using stones, petrol bombs and guns. Five people were killed and hundreds more injured.

Late on Thursday, opposition supporters ransacked the Muslim Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters and set it on fire. The Muslim Brotherhood dominates the government and backs Mr Morsi.

Police also fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters gathered outside the president's house in his hometown of Zagazig, north of Cairo.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama called Mr Morsi to express his "deep concern" over the recent violent protests, the White House said.

He welcomed Mr Morsi's call for talks, but stressed they should be "without preconditions", a statement said.

Mr Morsi has confirmed that the referendum on a new constitution will go ahead as planned, saying that if the constitution were voted down, another constituent assembly would be formed to write a new draft.

Critics say the draft, drawn up by a body dominated by Morsi-supporting Islamists, was rushed through parliament without proper consultation and does not do enough to protect political and religious freedoms and the rights of women.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said the proposed constitution contains "some very worrying omissions and ambiguities".

"In some areas the protections in it are even weaker than the 1971 constitution it is supposed to replace," she said.

Four of Mr Morsi's advisers resigned on Wednesday. Three others did so last week and the official Mena news agency reported a further resignation on Thursday.

Sources: bbc, twitter
This page was loaded Jan 22nd 2019, 2:41 pm GMT.