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Egypt's Morsi hosts national dialogue; key opposition absent

President Mohamed Morsi is meeting with several political figures to discuss the current crisis, but key leftist and liberal opposition figures declined to attend

Ahram Online, Monday 28 Jan 2013
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Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is holding a dialogue meeting with several political figures to discuss the ongoing political instability and violence in the country.

The meeting was called for by the president on Sunday during his speech as an initiative for "national dialogue," saying it is the "only way to pass through the current phase and achieve stability."

Present at the meeting were several political leaders, including head of the Freedom and Justice Party Saad El-Katatni, head of the Salafist Nour Party Younes Makhion, founder of the Strong Egypt Party Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, head of Al-Wasat party Abou El-Ela Mady, and head of liberal Ghad Al-Thawra party Ayman Nour.

The invitation, which was sent to several political forces, was turned down by the National Salvation Front, the country's key umbrella opposition groups which includes liberal figure Mohamed ElBaradei and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi.

In a press conference on Monday, the NSF announced that it would not be taking part in a dialogue that is only "a facade", stressing that certain conditions needed to be met in order to guarantee a "serious dialogue."

Morsi's invitation comes amidst ongoing clashes across the country, including in Cairo, that have left more than 50 injured, including around three police officers.

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