Egypt Oppn calls for talks

Move aimed at ending violence; 2 protesters shot dead in Tahrir Square

Egypt Oppn calls for talks

Egypt’s main opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei on Wednesday pressed for “serious” dialogue among all political parties, the powerful military and embattled President Mohammed Morsi to end a wave of violence that has claimed 60 lives in the deeply polarised country.

“We need an immediate meeting between the president, defence and interior ministers, the ruling party, the Salafis and the National Salvation Front to take urgent steps to halt the violence and start serious dialogue,” the former IAEA chief, ElBaradei, wrote on his Twitter account.

Two more protesters were shot dead on Wednesday in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square on the seventh day of what has become the deadliest wave of unrest since Morsi took power in June. ElBaradei’s proposal for meeting comes two days after the main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front led by him, rejected a call made by Islamist Brotherhood leader Morsi to hold a “national dialogue”.

The Front, a grouping of mostly liberal and leftist politicians, on Monday demanded Morsi to take responsibility for days of fatal violence in the country, suspend the newly approved constitution and sack a public prosecutor he appointed last November.

The worst violence hit the Suez Canal city of Port Said, where rage was fuelled by death sentences passed against soccer fans for deadly riots last year. Morsi responded by announcing on Sunday a month-long state of emergency and curfew in Port Said and two other Suez Canal cities.

Egypt’s army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, who is also the country’s Defence Minister, on Tuesday warned that the current wave of unrest “could lead to a collapse of the state”. Meanwhile, Morsi left for Germany to hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Morsi, who was expected to stay in Berlin for two days, has cut short his European tour to just a few hours. He also cancelled his trip to Paris.

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