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Al-Azhar calls for reconciliation in Egypt - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Egyptian interim president Adly Mansour right, meets with Ahmed Al-Tayeb the grand sheikh of Cairo's Al-Azhar, the pre-eminent theological institute of Sunni Islam, at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammed Samaha, Egyptian Presidency)

Egyptian interim president Adly Mansour (R), meets with Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, the grand sheikh of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the pre-eminent theological institute of Sunni Islam, at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammed Samaha, Egyptian Presidency)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—The sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, started a new round of talks with political parties on Saturday in the hopes of reaching a comprehensive national reconciliation following the failure of international efforts to mediate between the government and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi.

Tayyeb called all parties to an urgent meeting at the end of the Eid holidays in order to discuss ways to resolve the crisis.

A source from Al-Azhar expressed optimism that the meeting will be a success, adding that the ongoing crisis was having a negative effect on the development of democracy in Egypt and on the state of the economy.

Egypt’s vice-president for foreign affairs, Mohamed El-Baradei, said yesterday: “The battle today is to destroy oppression in all its forms.” He added in a comment on his Twitter account that “our revolution aimed at giving us back our minds, values and humanity.”

Tens of thousands of Mursi supporters continued their protests at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Nahdat Misr squares yesterday, calling for Mursi to be reinstated as president. Security sources said an operation will take place in the next few days to end the protests in a “legal manner.”

In the meantime, to founder of the April 6 Movement, Ahmed Maher, said the failure of regional and international efforts to resolve the crisis was evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood were not interested in resolving the crisis.

Maher accused the Brotherhood of making “impossible demands,” adding that the Brotherhood’s insistence that Mursi be reinstated is not possible.

He said the continuing intransigence, and the denial by the Brotherhood of its unpopularity, will lead to terrible consequences. He added that “every delay will increase the divide between the Brotherhood and society, and will reduce the chances of healing the wounds.”

On Saturday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his deep concern at the ongoing political impasse in Egypt, calling on the government and the Brotherhood to “exercise leadership and responsibility, and do everything possible to stop any further loss of life among Egyptians.”

In a statement made on his behalf by his spokesman, Ban Ki-moon said: “The Egyptian people spoke loudly in January 2011 in massive peaceful protests, which made unprecedented changes in the country.” He reiterated the UN’s commitment to support for Egypt.

In another development, on Saturday Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmi and his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, discussed bilateral relations and the latest developments in Egypt. A foreign ministry spokesman said: “Fabius talked about the great efforts made to end the violence and reduce tension and expressed his hope for Egypt to succeed in getting through this crisis by political and peaceful means.”

Fahmi said the Egyptian government was committed to resolving the ongoing problems through dialogue and by peaceful means wherever was possible. He said the government was committed to the road map which includes all Egyptians, whatever their political leanings.