Egypt's Morsi to reach out to NSF, youth groups: Presidential source

Ahram Online, Sunday 10 Mar 2013

Presidency plans to make fresh overtures – to both opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) and Egypt's politicised youth – in renewed effort to end impasse, presidential source tells Al-Ahram

President Mohamed Morsi plans to dispatch two of his aides to open talks with the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) umbrella group and political youth movements in hopes of resolving Egypt's current political impasse, a presidential source told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website on Sunday.

According to the source, one presidential aide will be tasked with meeting NSF leaders in an effort to convince the latter to enter 'national dialogue' talks.

The NSF has until now refused to enter into dialogue talks until the presidency meets a raft of preconditions. These include the replacement of the current government, the dismissal of the Morsi-appointed prosecutor-general, and the launch of credible investigations into recent political violence.

Meanwhile, the source added, Morsi plans to send a second aide to meet with a number of political youth movements with the aim of setting a timetable for holding meetings with the presidency.

"The president is adamant about resolving the current national divide," the source asserted.

President Morsi "doesn't mind" appointing a new cabinet, the same source went on, as long as it "enjoys consensus" and receives guarantees from the opposition that the current political situation would stabilise once new ministers were sworn in.

"The president fears that if he replaces the cabinet, the new one, too, will face unreasonable pressures [by the opposition]," the source said.

Meanwhile, ongoing political tensions have thrown Egypt's second post-revolution parliamentary polls – which the NSF has vowed to boycott – into doubt.

Elections were initially slated for 22 April, but it remains unclear if they will be held on schedule. Last Wednesday, an administrative court suspended the presidential decree calling for the polls, based on questions over the constitutionality of recently amended legislation governing parliamentary elections.

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