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Egypt's rivals hold rare crisis meeting to end political chaos


Cairo: Egypt's rival political factions Thursday held rare talks in the country's highest seat of Islamic learning to end days of political chaos and street protests which have claimed 60 lives in the deeply polarised country.

Leaders from all prominent political parties at the meeting in the al-Azhar mosque promised to support a "serious national dialogue" to resolve the current political crisis.

Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb chaired talks between liberal opposition leaders, Islamists, youth groups, independents and church members at the Al-Azhar headquarters here.

Senior opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said after the meeting that he was "optimistic".

At the end of the meeting a document entitled 'Al-Azhar document' was signed. The document vows to support "a serious dialogue", "condemns all forms of violence and incitement to violence", and stresses "responsibility of the state and its security apparatus to protect citizens."

The political manoeuvres came a day after Egypt's army chief and Defence Minister Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi warned that the current wave of unrest that triggered political crisis in the country "could lead to a collapse of the state".

The past week has seen the worst violence since Mursi won the presidency in June, leaving 60 people dead and a total of 590 people injured.

Besides ElBaradei, ex-Arab League chief Amr Mussa and Saad al-Katatni, head of the Freedom and Justice Party of President Mohammed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood were among others who attended the talks.


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