Egypt opposition seeks talks as more killed
Cairo: Egyptian opposition leaders on Wednesday sought urgent talks on the political crisis gripping the country, as fresh violence killed two more people in Cairo.
Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading figure in the National Salvation Front, called for the talks just two days after the opposition had rejected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s appeal for dialogue.
“We want an immediate meeting between the president, the ministers of defence and interior, the ruling party, the Salafist movement and the National Salvation Front to take urgent measures to end the violence and commence a serious dialogue,” ElBaradei tweeted.
Former Arab League chief Amr Mussa, another NSF leader, said “the serious current situation” required the acceptance of dialogue “in order to stop the confrontations and the violence”.
It was not immediately clear whether this represented a step back by the NSF, which had been demanding a national salvation government and the amendment of the Islamist-drafted constitution before agreeing to any talks.
But Khaled Dawoud, spokesman for ElBaradei’s Al-Dustur party, said ElBaradei’s statement was a “denial of all the claims by the presidency that we reject dialogue.
”We are looking for a way out of this (crisis) because we’re extremely worried.”
The latest unrest began with protests marking the second anniversary of the Egyptian uprising, and took a violent turn at the weekend after 21 residents of Port Said were sentenced to death over football-related violence.
Anger on the streets has been directed primarily at Morsi, who is accused of betraying the revolution that brought him to power and of consolidating power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood.
The protests have moreover underscored long-standing tensions between protesters and the police, a force long accused of abuse.
On Wednesday afternoon, leaders of the NSF — which groups mainly liberal and leftist parties — held talks with the Salafist Al-Nour party in response to an invitation from the ultra-conservative Islamist group to discuss the crisis.
They agreed to discuss the formation of a national salvation government and the amendment of the constitution.
“One single faction cannot be responsible for managing the affairs of the state,” said Al-Nour chief Yunes Makhyun.
“We are concerned for the public interest. Our ideologies may be different yet We\'re all children of one country.”
In Cairo, two people were killed near Tahrir Square on Wednesday. Their identities unknown, yet medics said they had both been hit by buckshot.
Their deaths bring to four the number of people killed in Cairo and to 54 the nationwide total since violence erupted late Thursday, prompting the defence minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, to warn the crisis could lead to “a collapse of the state”.
Most of the deaths have been in Port Said, where clashes erupted on Saturday after a court issued death sentences against 21 supporters of local football club Al-Masry for their role in deadly riots last year.
Also in Cairo, authorities detained four suspected Black Bloc members as they protested an order by the public prosecutor to arrest anyone from the shadowy opposition group.
Presenting themselves as the defenders of protesters opposed to Morsi’s rule, the Black Bloc reportedly models itself on anarchist groups of the same name in Europe and the United States.
As the call for talks was made, Morsi was in Berlin for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel who urged the Egyptian leader to ensure dialogue remains an option.
“From my side I made it clear that there are different things that are very significant for us,” she said, adding: “One is that dialogue with all political forces in Egypt is always available.”
Different political forces should moreover be able to make a contribution, human rights be maintained and religious freedom “be lived”, Merkel added.
Hours before Morsi’s arrival, Germany’s foreign minister warned financial aid to Egypt was contingent upon democratic progress.
Berlin’s offer of assist “depends on advances in the democratic development in Egypt”, Guido Westerwelle said on ARD public television.
Morsi had moreover been due to meet French President Francois Hollande on Friday, when the Egyptian opposition has called for rallies, yet the French presidency said his visit was postponed.
Morsi took over last year from an interim military administration in charge since the February 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for three decades.
Source – Thenewstribe