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Egypt's opposition spurns talks with Islamist leader
Published Monday 28/01/2013 (updated) 29/01/2013 10:57
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Riot police fire rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters opposing
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi during clashes along Qasr Al
Nil bridge, which leads to Tahrir Square in Cairo January 27,
2013.(Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
CAIRO (Reuters) -- Egypt's main opposition coalition will not join a national dialogue on Monday called by President Mohamed Mursi because the proposal was not genuine and the group will only attend future talks if a list of conditions are met, members said.

Mursi invited his allies and rivals to talks at 6 p.m. on Monday to try to resolve a political crisis and end violence on the streets that erupted during anti-government protests. Five days of unrest has led to 50 deaths.

The National Salvation Front, which rejected a similar call for dialogue last year during another spasm of unrest, saw the Islamist leader's call as "cosmetic and not substantive", said leading member of the coalition Mohamed ElBaradei.

"We will not go to the dialogue today," ElBaradei told a news conference after the Front's members met in Cairo to discuss the invitation.

"We will send a message to the Egyptian people and the president of the republic about what we think are the essentials for dialogue. If he agrees to them, we are ready for dialogue."

The coalition's conditions included a demand that Mursi accept responsibility for the bloodshed and agree to form a government of national salvation, echoing previously unmet demands by the opposition.

"We have accepted dialogue (in the past) and went to the president in his office and spoke to him," said leftist firebrand politician Hamdeen Sabahy. "We did not refuse dialogue. But the result was he issued an oppressive decree."

Opposition politicians were enraged late last year when Mursi issued a decree awarding himself extra powers that the president's allies said were essential to help push Egypt's transition forward. Rivals saw it as a blatant power grab.

Opposition politicians were particularly angered that they had not been given any indication of Mursi's plans for such a sweeping move in their individual talks with him shortly before the decree was issued.

After that decree, Mursi fast-tracked an Islamist-tinged constitution through a referendum, further enraging his opponents who accused him of reneging on his pledged to be a president for all Egyptians.
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1 ) Bemused / New Zealand
29/01/2013 00:33
So AlBaradei LOST the free, fair, and open elections, yet thinks he has the right to demand to govern!! We can only hope he gets back to planet earth before his thugs have completely destroyed it...

2 ) Reader / from Edmonton
29/01/2013 02:45
ElBaradei must accept the consequences of his actions. He can't run around inciting street violence and mob action and still be part of the democratic process. He could perhaps be forgiven his radical actions were he not aware that his actions drive violent acts. He has international experience of democracy and he knows better.
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