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Al-Wasat Party calls for urgent 'national reconciliation' meeting

Moderate Islamist Al-Wasat Party issues call for all political parties to hold reconciliation talks ahead of planned demonstrations 30 June that many fear could turn violent

Ahram Online , Saturday 15 Jun 2013

The moderate Islamist Al-Wasat Party released a statement Saturday calling for an urgent national reconciliation meeting no later than this week to “save Egyptian blood,” fearing 30 June demonstrations will trigger violence between opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi.

The call, which was sent to all opposition figures, comes from the Muslim Brotherhood ally ahead of mass demonstrations on the first anniversary of President Morsi's coming to power. The demonstrations, the culmination of the "Rebel" campaign that aims to get 15 million signatures withdrawing confidence from Morsi, aim to trigger early presidential elections.

The party statement said that figures contacted to attend include Abdel-Ghafar Shuk of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, Ihab Shiha of the Asala Party, Mohamed ElBaradei of the Constitution Party, Mohamed Saad El-Katatni of the Freedom and Justice Party, Amr Moussa of the Conference Party, Amr Hamzawy of the Free Egypt Party, Nasr Abdel-Salam of the Construction and Development Party.

The invitees also include Hamdeen Sabbahi of the Egyptian Popular Current, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh of the Strong Egypt Party, Abu El-Ela Madi of Al-Wasat Party, Ayman Nour of Al-Ghad Party, Sayed El-Badawy of the Wafd Party, Emad Abdel-Ghafour of Al-Watan Party, Younis Makhyoun of El-Nour Party, Mohamed Abul-Ghar of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail of the Salafist Raya Party.

The Wasat Party initiative would include discussion on how to accomplish political cooperation, a possible joint stand on the current government, elections for the House of Representatives (the lower house of the Egyptian parliament), and coordinated action on foreign threats, including the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project, along with other topics suggested by attendees.

The date of the meeting would be announced when decided upon, the statement read.

“All should be careful and cautious these days as the situation is dominated by irrationality,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, head of the Free Egypt Party, Amr Hamzawy, denied on Twitter Saturday having approved the Wasat Party initiative, adding that any such claims are spread to put in doubt the opposition’s firm stand against dialogue including the ruling regime until certain demands are met.

Hamzawy reiterated the call for early presidential elections.

The 30 June demonstrations were first called for by the anti-government grassroots Rebel petition campaign launched in May. The campaign, which announced 29 May it had collected seven million signatures, has been endorsed by all opposition groups and figures. The campaign has accused the president's administration of "failing to implement policies to improve the life of ordinary people."

Leading Islamist figures from the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which the president hails, as well as other Islamist groups, have criticised the campaign and accused its members of infringing on popular will.

Morsi was elected last year in Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential elections.

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