UPDATE 2-Egypt's Moussa wants formal proposal to end crisis

Wed Dec 5, 2012 11:28am EST

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CAIRO Dec 5 (Reuters) - Egyptian opposition leader Amr Moussa said on Wednesday that President Mohamed Mursi should make a formal offer for dialogue to end a crisis over the constitution, after the vice-president set out what he described as personal ideas to resolve the row.

Opposition politicians met to respond to the proposals laid out by Vice-President Mahmoud Mekky, who presented his ideas to reporters at the presidential palace. Outside the compound, Mursi's opponents and supporters scuffled with each other.

"We are ready when there is something formal, something expressed in definite terms; we will not ignore it, especially if there is something useful," Moussa told Reuters, adding that he was holding talks with other politicians.

He said the terms used by Mekky to describe his ideas meant they could not be considered a formal or official offer with presidential backing.

Moussa is a member of an opposition alliance, the National Salvation Front, which includes several prominent figures such as former U.N. nuclear agency chief and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.

Another member of the alliance, Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, head of the Popular Socialist Coalition Party, said the opposition would issue a statement to respond to Mekky. "Until now we still hold our position that the decree should be cancelled and the constitution should be delayed," he said, referring to Mursi's decree on Nov. 22 that gave him extraordinary powers.

Mekky said amendments to disputed articles could be agreed with the opposition. A written agreement could then be submitted to the next parliament, to be elected after a referendum on the constitution on Dec. 15.

On those ideas, Shokr said it would be unusual for a constitution to be amended after just two months.

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official told Reuters the ideas needed to be "crystallised."

"When it is crystallized and announced, at that time we will declare our position," Mahmoud Ghozlan, Brotherhood spokesman and a senior member of the group, told Reuters.

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