Morsi faces two options: Collapse of state or talks with opposition
CAIRO - Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading figure in the opposition National Salvation Front, called Wednesday for urgent talks with Egypt's leadership to address the political crisis gripping the country.
"We want an immediate meeting between the president, the ministers of defence and interior, the ruling party, the Salafist movement and the National Salvation Front to take urgent measures to end the violence and begin a serious dialogue," ElBaradei said in a tweet.
His call comes two days after the opposition rejected President Mohamed Morsi's call for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
Meanwhile, two people died in clashes between protesters and police near Cairo's Tahrir Square, medics said.
Both of the victims, neither of whom was identified, were hit by buckshot. One died at the scene, while the other died in hospital.
Their deaths bring to four the number killed in Cairo and to 54 the nationwide total since violence broke out on Thursday.
Egypt has witnessed almost a week of deadly violence which has left more than 50 people dead, most of them in Port Said where clashes erupted Saturday after a court issued death sentences against 21 supporters of a local football club for their role in deadly riots last year.
The National Salvation Front indicated Wednesday that some of its leaders would meet during the day with representatives of the main Salafist party, Al-Nour, in response to an invitation from the ultra-conservative Islamist group to discuss the "deterioration of the situation."
Egypt's military chief on Tuesday warned that the political crisis could lead to the collapse of the state.
"The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations," said General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.
Morsi, facing growing opposition in Egypt, flew Wednesday to Berlin for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel in a visit shortened to just a few hours after days of unrest in his country, official media said.
The visit will centre on bilateral cooperation as well as the situation in Egypt, where almost a week of violence has left more than 50 people dead, the official news agency MENA said.
Morsi's trip had originally been expected to last two days.
It will be the president's first visit to Germany, Europe's biggest economy, since his election in June last year.
MENA said he is to meet with business people as well as Merkel.
Hours before Morsi's arrival, Germany's foreign minister warned that German financial aid to Egypt is contingent upon democratic progress.
Berlin's offer of help "depends on advances in the democratic development in Egypt", Guido Westerwelle said on ARD public television.
"These last days we have seen some terrible pictures, images of violence and destruction," Westerwelle said, calling for dialogue between the Egyptian government and opposition.
France's presidency said on Tuesday that Morsi had postponed an official visit this week. He had been due to meet French President Francois Hollande on Friday, when the Egyptian opposition has called for rallies.
Morsi took over last year from an interim military administration in charge since the February 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for three decades.