US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Saturday for talks with the leaders of Egypt and their opposition, amid political turmoil and a crippling economic crisis.
Kerry, who arrived from Turkey, is due to hold talks with President Mohammad Mursi, as well as political parties, business leaders and civil society groups during his two-day visit.
However, two leading dissidents, Mohammad El Baradei and Hamdeen Sabahi of the National Salvation Front (NSF) said they would not be meeting with Kerry, after Washington’s call for them to reconsider a boycott of next month’s parliamentary elections.
Kerry will also hold talks with former Arab League chief Amr Mussa, another NSF leader, Mussa said in a statement.
A state department official told reporters that Kerry was open to talks with all political parties.
The National Salvation Front, the leading opposition coalition, pulled out of the staggered legislative elections scheduled to start on April 22, expressing doubts over their transparency.
The Egyptian opposition insists the president appoint a new government before the election. The presidency says the new parliament should have the right to appoint the cabinet.
Egypt has been deeply divided in recent months between Mursi’s mainly Islamist allies and a wide-ranging opposition.