Egypt’s main opposition group on Monday rejected as “empty of content” a call by President Mohammed Morsi for dialogue, as the country plunged deeper into crisis following days of deadly rioting.
“We will not participate in dialogue that is empty of content,” leading dissident Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters after a meeting of the National Salvation Front which groups several mainly liberal and leftist movements.
The NSF said Morsi needed to agree to a list of demands it laid out last week, including the formation of a national salvation government and the amendment of the Islamist-drafted constitution, before it agrees to any talks.
“We are in complete agreement at the Front. We have to solve the roots of the problems, not the symptoms. The solution is not a security one, it is political. We will not join a dialogue with no agenda just to project an image of talks,” ElBaradei said.
Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, who also spoke at the news conference, said Morsi had to accept responsibility for the bloodshed that has swept the country.
“We aspire to a dialogue, but there are no guarantees that this dialogue will be a success... while blood is being spilled,” said Sabbahi.
On Sunday, Morsi declared a month-long state of emergency in the provinces of Port Said, Suez and Ismailiya after they were hit by deadly riots in which nearly 50 people were killed.
He also slapped the three provinces with night-time curfews, while calling the opposition — which accuses him of betraying the revolution that brought him to power — to a national dialogue at the presidential palace.
Egypt’s main opposition bloc has further called for demonstrations nationwide on Friday to achieve the “goals of the revolution”. A statement called “on the Egyptian people to take to the streets in all Tahrir Squares (across the nation) on Friday to stress the sanctity of the blood of the martyrs and achieve the goals of the revolution.”