12 Aug 2013

Morsi party rejects mediation offer

3:09 pm on 12 August 2013

The Freedom and Justice Party of ousted president Mohammed Morsi of Egypt has reacted critically to mediation efforts by one of the country's most senior clerics.

The Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyib, had invited different political forces to talks.

However, a spokesman for the Freedom and Justice Party questioned the imam's impartiality.

Foreign affairs spokesperson Mohammed Soudan pointed out that the grand imam openly supported the military intervention to remove Mr Morsi on 3 July.

Mr Soudan also said the party wanted the release of high-ranking officials of the Muslim Brotherhood arrested since Mr Morsi was ousted.

Egypt has been polarised since the army deposed Mr Morsi after mass protests on the first anniversary of his election as president. More than 250 people have been killed since then, the BBC reports.

The interim government said last week that international mediation efforts had failed. Numbers are swelling at two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi said last week that a decision to disperse the pro-Morsi sit-ins outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque and the al-Nahda square near Cairo university was final.

On Friday, Brotherhood leader Mohammed al-Beltagi warned the government: "Kill as much as you like. I won't move an inch… We will offer a million martyrs."