Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi delivered a long-waited speech on Thursday night denouncing recent bloody clashes outside the presidential palace and inviting all opposition forces to meet on Saturday for dialogue.
Morsi said in case the draft constitution is disapproved in the Dec. 15 referendum, he would call for the formation of a new constituent assembly.
The president noted he was willing to give up Article 6 of the constitutional declaration if necessary, which gives him the right to take "any required measures" to protect the country, after the dialogue with the political forces.
He also reaffirmed the constitutional declaration was only meant to protect the country and to respond to accomplish the new constitution. Morsi stressed that Saturday's meeting with opposition figures, heads of political parties and revolutionary youth is aimed to reach an inclusive and productive agreement to unite Egyptians and to outline a roadmap in case the draft constitution was declined by the public, asserting the constitutional referendum would be held on Dec. 15 as scheduled.
Morsi lamented the death of six people in Wednesday's clashes outside the palace, noting that the affiliates with the former regime were involved in the confrontation by hiring thugs and providing them with weapons to cause strife and instigate violence among peaceful protesters.
On Nov. 22, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration which rules that all laws, decrees and constitutional declarations issued by the president since he came into office on June 30 are final and unchallengeable by anybody, which triggered a new wave of nationwide protests.
Morsi later promised that the declaration was only temporary and would be withdrawn as soon as the draft constitution is approved by Egyptians in the upcoming referendum, which was scheduled on Dec. 15. But the move failed to quench the massive protests.