x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

ElBaradei presses for talks towards ending Egypt violence

Egypt's liberal opposition leader calls for dialogue with the Islamist government, all political factions and the military, to stop the violence that has left more than 60 dead in the past week.

Protesters use slingshots to launch stones at riot police during clashes near Qasr el-Nil bridge, in Cairo.
Protesters use slingshots to launch stones at riot police during clashes near Qasr el-Nil bridge, in Cairo.

CAIRO // Egypt's liberal opposition leader yesterday called for a broad national dialogue with the Islamist government, all political factions and the military, aimed at stopping the eruption of political violence that has left more than 60 dead in the past week.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei's appeal appeared to be in response to a warning by the head of the armed forces a day earlier that Egypt could collapse unless the country's feuding political factions reconcile.

Violent protests continued across the country yesterday, with two more protesters killed when they were hit with birdshot during clashes with police near Cairo's Tahrir Square, acording to a security official said.

The Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has so far ignored demands by Mr ElBaradei's National Salvation Front for major concessions as a condition for any dialogue.

Instead, he has held his own "national dialogue" programme, mainly with his Islamist allies.

In a tweet yesterday, Mr ElBaradei said stopping the violence was the priority, but stuck by the front's conditions for dialogue - that Mr Morsi form a national unity government and a commission to amend contentious articles of the Islamist-backed constitution.

There was no immediate response from the presidency or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr Morsi was on a brief visit to Germany and was expected back in Egypt later in the day.