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Egypt presidency 'respects street's demands,' stresses 'need for dialogue'

As millions take to streets countrywide to demand snap elections, Egypt's embattled presidency asserts its respect for free expression but calls for dialogue to resolve political stalemate

Ahram Online, Monday 1 Jul 2013
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Egypt's presidency held a press conference on Sunday night at the presidential palace in Cairo, where spokesman Omar Amer stressed the presidency's respect for the demands of the street but also emphasised the need for dialogue.

The press conference was the second to take place on Sunday, following an earlier one at 5pm.

"We respect the demands of the street and we acknowledge that the political scene in Egypt is continuously changing," he said. "But initiatives are being announced every hour and communication is ongoing."

"Groups who have demands must sit down to dialogue," said Amer, who reminded listeners of the presidency's repeated calls for dialogue that had been rejected by some factions of the opposition.

"We must stress that the issue of dialogue is not mere rhetoric as some claim it to be," Amr said. "The president has continuously said that he wanted everyone to listen to his initiative with the aim of holding serious national dialogue."

Amer further stressed that the presidency would continue to protect peaceful protests to ensure the right of expression. He also praised the "patriotic role played by Egypt's security forces" in protecting Sunday's mass rallies.

Regarding police officers who joined the anti-Morsi protests, Amer stressed that the matter concerned the interior ministry and not the presidency.

He further announced that the coming days would see more steps aimed at empowering youth, "as they make up 60 percent of the population."

Commenting on the demands and statements issued by opposition factions calling for President Morsi's resignation, Amer said that the presidency would abide by demands in accordance with the constitution, "but unconstitutional demands are unacceptable."

The press conference took place as millions of protesters filled the streets and squares nationwide to demand Morsi's ouster and snap presidential elections.

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