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Egyptian president calls for national dialogue meeting

Source : Agencies | 07 Dec 2012

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi invited political groups, judges and others to meet on Saturday for a national dialogue on a political road map after a referendum on a new constitution, which he signalled would go ahead as scheduled on Dec. 15.

In a televised address, Mursi also said he was open to the idea of removing an article in a controversial decree that shielded his decisions from judicial review, saying that could happen if "dialogue led to that".

However, opposition rejected the call from Mursi for a national dialogue after deadly clashes around his palace despite clashes that killed seven people.

A communique from a leftist group urged protesters to gather at mosques and squares across Egypt, and to stage marches in Cairo and its sister city Giza, converging on the presidential palace.

"I call for a full, productive dialogue with all figures and heads of parties, revolutionary youth and senior legal figures to meet this Saturday," Mursi said in a televised address on Thursday, saying the meeting would be at his official palace.

As well as drawing up a road map, he said they would discuss the fate of the upper house of parliament after the lower house was dissolved in June, the election law and other issues. He said plans for the referendum on Dec. 15 were on track.

While defending his decision to issue the Nov. 22 decree, Mursi said the provision that protected his decisions from judicial oversight did not "prevent the judiciary from exercising its role or citizens from appealing against decisions and laws".

"However if this article worries anyone, I am not insisting on it remaining," he said. He added that only "sovereign actions" were protected from judicial review.