The Egyptian army has, in a statement read on state media urged rival political forces to come together and solve their disputes by talking.
If not it warned Egypt would be dragged into a, “dark tunnel” which it would not allow to happen. It comes as the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups called for a referendum on a draft constitution to go ahead as planned next week.
President Mohamed Mursi who was not mentioned in the army statement has signalled his intention of pursuing talks to solve the crisis despite the main opposition parties boycotting the discussions. The Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie has urged protesters to denounce violence.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has adopted dialogue as the only way to deal with all opposition. But what is happening is not the opposition, it is not a difference of opinion but tyranny, corruption and criminality,” he said.
Overnight tens of thousands of protesters gathered near the presidential palace. A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood said the army statement was “balanced” and it was right for the military, “not to engage in political manoeuvres”.