Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi has called for what he describes as a “comprehensive” dialogue Saturday with the opposition as the political crisis in the country enters its third week.
Opposition leaders say they are not interested in engaging in discussions with Mr. Morsi unless a controversial presidential decree is revoked and a referendum on a draft constitution is canceled.
Egypt's military said Saturday it supports dialogue to resolve political differences. A military spokesman said dialogue is “the best and only way” to reach consensus.
On Friday, Egypt postponed the start of early voting on the proposed charter by Egyptians abroad. Some analysts say the move could signal that the president may be willing to negotiate with the opposition.
Cairo has been gripped by protests for the past two weeks with opponents of President Morsi clashing with his supporters over a decree granting the president extraordinary powers, and the planned December 15 referendum on the hastily-drafted constitution.
Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said the president's refusal to compromise has created what ElBaradei calls “a disaster.”
On Friday, President Morsi's opponents broke through barbed-wire cordons around the presidential palace in Cairo.
Two protesters were killed in clashes this week. Nearly 700 people have been injured since the start of the protests. Mr. Morsi said Thursday he will not tolerate killings or sabotage.
The U.N.'s top human rights official has said she has numerous concerns about the text of the draft constitution, which she says weakens and undermines many of the human rights and freedoms of the Egyptian people
Navi Pillay says she is dismayed over the new constitution's failure to protect civil and political rights, and forbid torture and racial or gender discrimination.