President Mohamed Morsi has called on opposition leaders to start a dialogue and let him know what their political aspirations and vision are. In a statement on Monday, the Egyptian president’s spokesman also affirmed the right of people to demonstrate peacefully.
Omer Amer told journalists that Morsi vowed to introduce reforms within the next month. Amer said that the president has opened the door for dialogue, but “there has been no response”. Instead, he pointed out that the opposition groups have stuck to their demands and are trying to move “from expressing their opinions to imposing their opinions”.
Commenting on the protest in Tahrir Square calling for Morsi to be ousted, Amer said that the president held meetings on Sunday with the interior minister, defence minister and intelligence chief to look at their plans for keeping the demonstrations safe.
Morsi, confirmed Amer, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that he has “regrets” about issuing the constitutional decree last November which, he acknowledged, may have “contributed, in some way, to create a situation of misunderstanding”. If he should resign early, though, it would weaken the legitimacy of the next president and put the country on the verge of open-ended chaos. He placed the blame for the current situation on the “leftists and liberals” who did not get involved with the government after the rise of the Islamists. He denied claims that the government had deliberately excluded non-Islamists.
The president said that he is confident that he is going to complete his term in office, noting that his first year was very difficult. He expects the next three years to be difficult as well but is confident that the army will not carry out a coup.
Commenting on the demonstrations Morsi accused remnants of the former regime of hiring thugs to attack his supporters and accused the media of exaggerating claims that violence has spread all over Egypt.
According to Al-Jazeera correspondent Abdul-Fattah Fayed, there will be several press conferences for different groups on Monday to comment on what happened over the weekend. He pointed out that most analysts expect the president to wait for a while before he announces reforms. Fayed noted the president’s recognition that most demonstrators had taken to the streets to protest against price hikes and shortages of services and fuel, not against the political situation.