News / Middle East

Egypt's Islamists, Liberals Agree to Renounce Violence

Anti-Morsi protesters throw stones towards riot police during clashes in Simon Bolivar Square, which leads to Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, January 30, 2013.Anti-Morsi protesters throw stones towards riot police during clashes in Simon Bolivar Square, which leads to Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, January 30, 2013.
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Anti-Morsi protesters throw stones towards riot police during clashes in Simon Bolivar Square, which leads to Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, January 30, 2013.
Anti-Morsi protesters throw stones towards riot police during clashes in Simon Bolivar Square, which leads to Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, January 30, 2013.
VOA News
Egypt's Islamist and liberal politicians agreed Thursday to renounce violence and join a national dialogue aimed at resolving the country's deadliest unrest in months.

Egyptian Islamic scholar Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb chaired Thursday's meeting at the Cairo headquarters of Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, al-Azhar. He told the representatives of the country's feuding political factions that the "only way" to solve their differences is through an inclusive dialogue.

Senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that helped President Mohamed Morsi sweep into power in an election last year attended the meeting.

They sat opposite prominent liberal figures such as former U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa. Other participants included Egyptian youth activists and church leaders.

ElBaradei said he came out of the talks with a feeling of "optimism." He promised to do whatever he can to promote goodwill and build trust between the factions.

Delegates signed a document renouncing violent forms of protest and calling for the creation of a committee to arrange further talks as part of a national dialogue proposed by Mr. Morsi.

It is not clear whether the pledges will prevent more confrontations on the streets.

In the past week, nearly 60 people were killed in anti-government street protests in several cities, mostly along the Suez Canal.

Egypt's main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, said it was going ahead with plans to hold an anti-government march to Cairo's presidential palace on Friday.

Opposition figures have called on Mr. Morsi to form a national unity government that grants them seats in the Cabinet. Mr. Morsi's allies have resisted that demand, saying the opposition is trying to gain power that it could not win through elections.

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