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Egypt's top sheikh calls for reconciliation talks

The head of Egypt's leading Islamic authority Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, called for reconciliation talks intent on ending the country's political crisis.

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Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi raise pictures of the toppled leader in front of Army soldiers blocking Salah Salem highway in Cairo, on July 19, 2013. (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt's top sheikh proposed reconciliation talks Sunday amid calls for fresh protests by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Ahmed al-Tayyib, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, has begun inviting different political forces to talks intent on stabilizing the country's political crisis, possibly as early as later this week.

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The Muslim Brotherhood responded by saying it would not accept "unconstitutional and illegitimate" initiatives, and want Morsi reinstated before any members engage in peace talks.

Al-Azhar sided with the military over Morsi's ouster.

Meanwhile, numbers have swelled at two camps for Morsi supporters in recent days despite mounting warnings from the military-backed government that it intends to clear the sites.

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The main coalition of Morsi supporters, the Anti-Coup Alliance, called for a new round of protests Sunday "to defend the electoral legitimacy" of Egypt's first freely elected president.

More than 250 people, many of them Morsi supporters, have been killed in clashes since the military deposed Morsi on July 3 following mass protests demanding his resignation.

The military's claims that they will dismantle the camps after the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which ends Sunday, only raises fears of further bloodshed.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/130811/egypts-top-sheikh-calls-reconciliation-talks