Egypt's leaders meet for crisis talks called for by top cleric

Published January 31st, 2013 - 12:42 GMT
Violent clases in Cairo and the Suez region have claimed dozens of lives since January 25.
Violent clases in Cairo and the Suez region have claimed dozens of lives since January 25.

Egypt’s politicians met on Thursday to try to find a solution to the crisis engulfing the country, which has claimed dozens of lives since the second anniversary of the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The meeting was called by the country’s most influential religious scholar, the head of the al-Azhar university, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Reuters reported.

Al-Tayyeb told the gathered politicians a national dialogue was needed, "in which all elements of Egyptian society participate, without any exclusion, is the only tool to resolve any problems or differences".

The dialogue meeting was attended by top officials from President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, as well as secularist and leftist party members.

The leaders signed a document renouncing violence, according to Reuters.

Violent protests have swept Egypt, from Cairo to Port Said, since January 25. The opposition blames Morsi of betraying the revolution and signing away the liberties many of the revolutionaries fought for in a new constitution passed late last year.

Morsi had to cancel the final leg of a short diplomatic trip to Europe on Wednesday to return fot the meeting.

On Wednesday, the police scaled back a curfew imposed after violence flared in three restive cities in the Suez region following the sentencing to death of 21 people for their part in football violence in 2011.

Fresh protests were planned for Friday.

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