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Egypt's Morsi Appeals for National Unity

  • VOA News

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi addresses the newly convened upper house of parliament, in Cairo, Egypt, December 29, 2012.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi addresses the newly convened upper house of parliament, in Cairo, Egypt, December 29, 2012.

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi has appealed to Egyptians to work together to rebuild the country.

In a speech Saturday before Egypt's newly convened upper house of parliament [The Shura Consultative Council], Morsi said it is time for the country to focus on "work, seriousness and effort."

He announced plans to create jobs and investment in such areas as the Suez Canal and Sinai.

Protests and violence in recent weeks further damaged an economy already in crisis since the fall of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The unrest was sparked in part by an Islamist-led draft constitution that was approved by parliament last month and put to a referendum.

In his speech, Morsi defended the new constitution, saying it guarantees equal rights for all.

He signed a decree a few days ago putting the constitution into effect, after Egyptian election officials said nearly 64 percent of voters backed it in this month's polling.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's former party, supports the new constitution. Members of Egypt's liberal, secular and Christian opposition, however, fear it will erode civil liberties because it increases the role of Islamic law and does not mention women's rights.
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