Morsi calls for talks to quell fury, Oppn de­clines

Egyp­tian pres­i­dent vows never to tol­er­ate any­one who is try­ing to over­throw his ‘le­git­i­mate’ government

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - HTWORLD - Gu­ra­dian News Ser­vice let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

CAIRO: Egypt’s Repub­li­can Guard re­stored an un­easy calm to the area around the pres­i­den­tial palace in Cairo on Thurs­day af­ter fierce clashes killed seven peo­ple, as the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis wors­ened over Mo­hamed Morsi’s de­crees ex­tend­ing his power.

He an­nounced the start of a “com­pre­hen­sive and pro­duc­tive” di­a­logue with the Op­po­si­tion start­ing Satur­day and said that the ref­er­en­dum on the dis­puted con­sti­tu­tion, at the heart of the cri­sis, would go ahead as sched­uled on De­cem­ber 15 de­spite Op­po­si­tion de­mands to re­scind the doc­u­ment. Morsi also re­fused to an­nul his de­crees of Novem­ber 22 giv­ing him near-ab­so­lute pow­ers.

How­ever, the Op­po­si­tion Na­tional Sal­va­tion Front re­fused the calls for di­a­logue. Co-or­di­na­tor Mo­hamed ElBa­radei said the door for di­a­logue with Morsi had been closed af­ter the blood­shed out­side the pres­i­den­tial palace on Wed­nes­day and called for Egyp­tians to take to the streets on Fri­day in “all of Egypt’s squares”.

The pres­i­dent, crit­i­cised for his si­lence in the past few days, ad­dressed the na­tion, ac­cus­ing some op­po­si­tion pro­test­ers of serv­ing rem­nants of the old regime and vow­ing never to tol­er­ate any­one work­ing for the over­throw of his “le­git­i­mate” government.

Late on Thurs­day, the Mus­lim Brother­hood’s main of­fice in Cairo and an of­fice used by the Is­lamist group in a sub­urb south of the cap­i­tal were set on fire, Brother­hood of­fi­cials and state me­dia said. The Brother­hood’s po­lit­i­cal arm, the Free­dom and Jus­tice party said on its Face­book page that the head­quar­ters in the Mukat­tam district had been at­tacked in “a ter­ror­ist ag­gres­sion” by thugs.

Brother­hood of­fi­cials blamed po­lice for fail­ing to pre­vent the vi­o­lence.

Ear­lier, hun­dreds of Morsi’s Mus­lim Brother­hood sup­port­ers who had camped out near the palace with­drew be­fore a dead­line set by the Repub­li­can Guard. Scores of op­po­si­tion pro­test­ers re­mained but were kept be­hind a barbed wire bar­ri­cade guarded by tanks.

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