UK & World News
Egypt: 'Concerned' Obama Calls Morsi
President Barack Obama has called the leader of Egypt to express his deep concern about the deaths and injuries of protesters in the country.
The US president welcomed President Mohamed Morsi's call for a dialogue with the opposition and urged opposition leaders to join in this dialogue without preconditions.
Egypt's president had appeared on national television in an attempt to defuse the worst violence seen in the country since last year's revolution, and he said a controversial decree granting him widespread new powers might be modified.
Anger over what is perceived as Mr Morsi's increasingly autocratic rule came to a head on Wednesday when at least six people were killed and almost 700 injured during clashes between his supporters and opponents.
Members of the main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, said they were assessing the offer of dialogue but it was immediately rejected by the pro-democracy movement "April 6".
The crisis was sparked by Mr Morsi's decree on November 22, giving himself wide powers and protecting himself from judicial review.
The opposition has previously demanded that the president scrap his decree and postpone a referendum on a new draft constitution.
As well as drawing up a political roadmap, President Morsi said the talks would aim to resolve the fate of the upper house of parliament after the Islamist-dominated lower house was dissolved in June, the election law and other issues.
"I call for a full, productive dialogue with all figures and heads of parties, revolutionary youth and senior legal figures to meet this Saturday," he declared.
Several thousand opposition protesters near the palace waved their shoes in derision after his speech and shouted "killer, killer" and "We won't go, he will go" - another of the slogans used against Mubarak in last year's revolt.