By HAMZA HENDAWIAssociated Press
CAIRO (AP) - A prominent opposition leader on Thursday criticized Egypt's president for not offering a detailed road map for national reconciliation, saying his offer for a dialogue was a repeat of earlier proposals that never panned out.
In a statement, former foreign minister Amr Moussa also criticized Mohammed Morsi for not offering a "clear" economic recovery plan and for blaming the nation's woes on street protests and strikes.
Morsi, an Islamist, delivered a televised address to the nation late Wednesday ahead of opposition plans for massive street rallies on June 30 aimed at trying to force him from office.
He told his opponents to use elections not protests to try to change the government and counseled the military, which has warned it would intervene if violence breaks out, should focus on improving its capabilities and defending the nation.
In his 2 ½-hour address, Morsi defended his performance in his first year in office, admitting to making mistakes but also claiming achievements. At one point he apologized for fuel shortages which have partially paralyzed the nation, increasing frustration and anger at his government.
But the president offered no compromises in the confrontation with his opponents. Those organizing the protests for Sunday - the anniversary of Morsi's inauguration - say he must go because he has mismanaged the country, given a monopoly on decision-making to the Muslim Brotherhood and his Islamist allies and has encroached on the judiciary.
Moussa said the opposition, like the military, wanted a genuine reconciliation, something he said was not mentioned in the president's speech. "We didn't hear anything about this reconciliation having a plan, a rational direction or a detailed proposal worthy of study and discussion. What we heard was a routine call for dialogue and the creation of committees like those that were promised before but never materialized," he said.
He said economic reforms introduced by Morsi so far were inconsequential and the economy is going from bad to worse. "Furthermore, what does a strike by certain group, a gathering in a square, have to do with repairing hospitals or reforming the railways?"
Moussa, who was also the chief of the Arab league, said it was unbecoming of the president to mention by name and accuse of corruption a judge along with the owners of two TV networks that have been critical of his policies for alleged difficulties in settling outstanding tax or debts.
Protesters are hoping to bring out massive crowds Sunday, saying they have tapped into widespread discontent over economic woes, rising prices and unemployment, power cuts and lack of security.
As Morsi spoke, several thousand of his opponents gathered in Tahrir square, the birthplace of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, chanting "erhal!" or leave. Some chanted "the people want to overthrow the regime." Several took off their shoes and held them up in a sign of contempt and burned Morsi posters.
Morsi was often animated during his speech, at times angry, raising his voice. He frequently departed from his prepared remarks, switching from formal Arabic to Egyptian dialect to make jokes and present a common-man image. He was rewarded with rounds of applause and laughter from his supporters who, after the address, chanted "Oh president, we love you!"
On the whole, the address was a bid by Morsi to present himself as the nation's safest pair of hands at a very difficult time, something that he sought to convey with talk about outside plots to destabilize Egypt and Mubarak loyalists trying to undermine his government.
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