Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki held a meeting on Sunday with members of Egypt's Supreme Judiciary Council (SJC) in an attempt to mediate between the presidency and judiciary in the ongoing political crisis triggered by Thursday's constitutional declaration, Egyptian state television has reported.
Mekki had earlier expressed displeasure with the wording of the controversial declaration, issued by President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday evening, although the minister refrained from criticising its contents.
Egyptian state television also reported that the SJC had called on judges to halt their strike to give dialogue and negotiations a chance to end to the current crisis.
Meanwhile, hundreds of judges on Saturday held an extraordinary general assembly of the Judges' Club at Supreme Court headquarters in downtown Cairo to mull possible responses to the declaration, which, they argue, infringes on the independence of Egypt's judiciary.
The SJC also issued a statement expressing its disappointment with Thursday's decree and describing the move as "an unprecedented attack on judicial independence."
The constitutional declaration blocks the judiciary, or any other body, from challenging Morsi's decisions. The decree also protects the Shura Council (the upper, consultative house of parliament) and the Islamist-led Constituent Assembly (tasked with drafting a new constitution) from dissolution by court order.
Commentators, critics and protesters have dubbed Morsi Egypt's "new Pharaoh" and branded Thursday's constitutional declaration as "dictatorial."
The declaration also included the dismissal of Egypt's prosecutor-general, whom Morsi had attempted to remove some weeks ago but could not due to legal barriers.