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Clinton urges Egyptians to 'talk to each other'

US secretary of state urges Egyptians to discuss their differences and says new constitution should protect the rights of all.

BRUSSELS // The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, yesterday urged Egyptians to discuss their differences over a new constitution, saying that there was an urgent need for dialogue.

Speaking before last night's developments, she called for "respectful exchanges of views and concerns among Egyptians themselves about the constitutional process and the substance of the constitution" and said it was important that the courts were allowed to function.

"The upheaval we are seeing now once again in the streets of Cairo and other cities indicates that dialogue is urgently needed," Mrs Clinton told a news conference after a Nato meeting in Brussels.

Opposition groups have accused the Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, of making a dictatorial power grab to push through a constitution drafted by an assembly dominated by his supporters.

Mrs Clinton said Egyptians deserved a constitution that protected the rights of everyone, "men and women, Muslim and Christian, and ensures Egypt will uphold all of its international obligations".

She called for a constitutional process that was "open, transparent and fair and does not unduly favour one group over any other".

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