Friday 31 October 2014

Opposition snubs Morsi talks to end bloodshed

Richard Spencer in Cairo

Published 29/01/2013 | 05:00

Egypt's opposition rejected calls by President Mohammed Morsi for talks yesterday as the country continued to suffer from political and street confrontation.

A passer-by was shot dead near Tahrir Square in Cairo as sporadic battles continued between police and protesters.

Mr Morsi followed up his declaration of a state of emergency in three Suez Canal cities on Sunday night by rushing through legislation allowing him to deploy the military anywhere in the country until parliamentary elections, expected in June.

The legislation also gave powers to the military to arrest civilians and to the defence minister, a serving general, to dictate where to deploy troops and in what numbers.

In his speech to the nation following unrest that killed 50 people in Port Said and Suez at the weekend, Mr Morsi also called on opposition leaders to negotiate a joint approach to handling the crisis.

Mohammed ElBaradei, the opposition's figurehead, along with the Nasserite socialist Hamdeen Sabbahy, who has become Egypt's most popular political leader, and other secular leaders refused to meet him.

Mr ElBaradei said Mr Morsi's offer "lacked form and content" and he would have to meet the opposition's "preconditions".

Mr Morsi also declared a curfew in Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez, but it was already under threat in Port Said last night.

Casualties

Earlier, funerals for some of the dead from Saturday's clashes, when families and supporters of 21 men sentenced to death for their part in a football riot last February fought police, passed off without major casualties.

Mr Morsi invited the nation's political forces to a dialogue starting today. A statement from his office said that among those invited were Nobel peace Laureate Mohammed El Baradei, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabahi, a leftist politician. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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