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Egypt opposition leader presses Morsy

| Monday, April 8, 2013, 9:45 p.m.

CAIRO — Because Egypt's worst sectarian violence in months left seven dead the past two days, Egypt's leading opposition figure, Mohamed ElBaradei, on Monday called on the Islamist president to make serious concessions to bring the opposition into decision making, saying national reconciliation is the only way out of the country's myriad problems.

The violence, capped by an unprecedented mob attack on the main cathedral of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, raised new alarm over the escalating turmoil in the country, which has been polarized over the administration of Islamist President Mohamed Morsy and Islamists' political power.

The opposition has blamed months of unrest on attempts by Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which he hails, to monopolize power, accusing them of squeezing out other voices and failing to find consensus on major national issues, such as the controversial, Islamist-backed constitution passed in a December referendum.

Morsy supporters have accused the opposition of fueling street unrest to undermine the Islamists' election victories.

Morsy denounced Sunday's violence at the cathedral, saying he considered any attack on the cathedral as an attack against him personally. He also ordered an immediate investigation into the violence and spoke with the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II.

The Brotherhood's political arm depicted the attack as a new part of the attempts to create chaos.

Freedom and Justice Party secretary-general Hussein Ibrahim wrote on his Facebook page comments that whoever thinks that “igniting sectarian violence can bring down a ruling regime is mistaken. The fire of sedition if ignited in Egypt, God forbid, will burn all.”

ElBaradei said that the opposition is not ready to enter a dialogue with Morsy for show and that it first wants moves to indicate he is serious in seeking to heal rifts by meeting long-held opposition demands.

He said Morsy should appoint a new government, not packed with Islamists but instead based on merits and able to oversee upcoming parliamentary elections independently.

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