Egypt`s opposition says `too late` for unity talks
Activists geared up for a street protest campaign at the end of the month to demand Egypt President Mohammed Morsi`s ouster.
Cairo: Egypt`s largest opposition grouping said on Tuesday that calls by the country`s Islamist President for national reconciliation talks come "too late", as activists geared up for a street protest campaign at the end of the month to demand Mohammed Morsi`s ouster.
President Morsi made the call during a fiery speech on Monday over Ethiopia`s plans to build a dam on the Blue Nile, a project Cairo claims would jeopardise the flow of the Nile River through Egypt and cause a critical water shortage in the country.
In the speech, Morsi urged Egyptians to unite behind a common stand, saying he was "ready to meet anyone to serve the nation`s interest" to consolidate the country`s internal front in the face of outside dangers.
Critics accuse Morsi of using the Nile dam issue to whip up nationalist fervour and undercut the opposition`s push for his ouster.
"Such a call is simply lip service on Morsi`s part and tasteless PR," said Khaled Dawoud, spokesman of the National Salvation Front, the main opposition coalition.
It is rather too late after Morsi failed to hold a single serious dialogue in his year in office," Dawoud said.
Tensions are rising ahead of June 30, when Morsi marks one year as Egypt`s first freely-elected President. He came to power in the aftermath of the 2011 uprising that toppled his predecessor, autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The opposition has called for mass demonstrations to mark the anniversary by calling for his ouster.
Anticipating violence during the upcoming protests, Egypt`s Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim told police officers today that security forces will not get into confrontations with protesters.
He said that the presidential palace, which will be the focal point of protests, will be protected by the Republican Guard forces charged with defending the President.
Police will not be deployed there, unlike previous protests at the palace. Clashes between security forces and protesters over the last two years have left scores dead.
Morsi has substantial opposition from within the police force. Earlier this year, police officers held a nation-wide strike earlier this year demanding that Morsi not use them against the opposition. They decry what they call the "Brotherhoodization" of the police, the alleged appointment of Morsi loyalists in key posts.