By Claire Davenport
BRUSSELS Dec 5 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton urged Egyptians on Wednesday to discuss their
differences over a new constitution, saying there was an urgent
need for dialogue.
"The upheaval we are seeing now once again in the streets of
Cairo and other cities indicates that dialogue is urgently
needed," Clinton told a news conference after a NATO meeting in
She called for "respectful exchanges of views and concerns
among Egyptians themselves about the constitutional process and
the substance of the constitution" and said it was important
that the courts were allowed to function.
Opposition groups have accused Egyptian President Mohamed
Mursi of making a dictatorial power grab to push through a
constitution drafted by an assembly dominated by his supporters.
In Cairo on Tuesday, police battled thousands of protesters
angered by Mursi's drive to hold a referendum on the new
constitution on Dec. 15.
Clinton said Egyptians deserved a constitution that
protected the rights of everyone, "men and women, Muslim and
Christian, and ensures Egypt will uphold all of its
She called for a constitutional process that was "open,
transparent and fair and does not unduly favour one group over