Mursi urges dialogue with Egyptian opposition in June 30 countdown

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Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi on Saturday renewed his calls for dialogue with the opposition in an attempt to ease deep political rifts ahead of planned protests calling for his resignation set for June 30.

“I have said it before. I urge everyone to sit together to discuss what would achieve the interests of our nation,” Mursi said in an interview published in the state-owned Akhbar al-Youm newspaper.

The interview comes a day after tens of thousands of Mursi supporters massed in Cairo in a show of strength.

Mursi and the Brotherhood have turned their organizational prowess into electoral success since the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, but a diverse opposition coalition now hopes to force Mursi to resign by demonstrating en masse on the first anniversary of his inauguration on June 30.

“I will continue in my pursuit for contact, and I may speed up parliamentary elections as a way of involving everyone in an agreed method to manage our differences,” Mursi said.

“The call for protest on June 30 reflects the atmosphere of freedom granted to us by the revolution” of 2011, he said.

Mursi appealed for calm and accused those who supported the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak of inciting instability.

“They want to bring back the past because the revolution harmed their interests. (People) must stop their evil plans because they do not want calm and stability for Egypt,” Mursi said.

Meanwhile, the country’s prime minister said late Friday he was concerned by mounting calls for violence.

Hisham Qandil, speaking in a midnight television program on state TV, warned that no one was above the law, while saying that peaceful protests would be protected.

“What we hear in terms of calls for violence here and there worries me a lot,” Qandil said, as quoted by Reuters news agency. “We are preparing for June 30 in terms of security and by raising awareness among the people so they commit to peaceful demonstrations.

“Since the revolution, the only way to deal with peaceful protesters is to protect them.”

But Qandil made clear that the Islamists will not give in to the power of the street, insisting on the democratic legitimacy of the administration: “Real change comes through the polling station,” Qandil said.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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