Egypt's political rivals meet amid tension

CAIRO Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:06am IST

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (R) meets with opposition figure Ayman Nour (L), chairman of el-Ghad political party, in Cairo February 16, 2013. REUTERS/Egyptian Presidency/Handout

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (R) meets with opposition figure Ayman Nour (L), chairman of el-Ghad political party, in Cairo February 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Egyptian Presidency/Handout

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Liberal and Islamist political leaders met privately on Saturday to try to ease tensions that have sparked protests in which some 60 Egyptians have died since late January, politicians said.

The protests erupted after the second anniversary of the uprising which overthrew Hosni Mubarak and reflected competing visions for Egypt's future. Political turbulence has slowed negotiations for a $4.8 billion dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Politicians said Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent liberal activist and leader of the National Salvation Front (NSF), met Saad el-Katatni, head of the Muslim Brotherhood's ruling Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). Another leader of the NSF, Sayed el-Badawi, also took part in the talks.

Previously the NSF had boycotted the idea of talks with President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has been the target of protester rage in weeks of violent demonstrations.

(Reporting and writing by Yasmine Saleh, additional reporting by Ali Abdelatti and Tom Perry; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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