Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said Wednesday that he is working with US President Barack Obama to get Israel and the Palestinians to talk about the similarities between them, rather than the differences.
In an interview with TIME Magazine, Morsi praised Obama, saying he had "been very helpful, very helpful. And I can say, really, that his deeds coincide with his intentions."
Morsi said that he had been speaking to Obama about efforts to cement the cease-fire
that ended eight days of hostilities between Israel and Gaza terror groups last week.
"We’ve been talking together about the cease-fire. That’s very important. Then we can talk about differences between Palestinians and Israelis. It’s not easy. It’s very difficult. Both sides are talking about differences. We want them to talk about similarities...We are now doing this job as much as we can," Morsi told TIME
Morsi was scheduled to address the Egyptian people on Thursday, calling for unity as he pushes through a new constitution he hopes will defuse a crisis prompted by his decision to grant himself sweeping powers.
The assembly tasked with writing the constitution ended its session in the early hours on Thursday, wrapping the final draft it will put to vote later in the day.
But as Morsi's opponents pressed on with their week-old protests
in Cairo's Tahrir Square, critics said the Islamist-dominated assembly's bid to finish the constitution quickly could make matters worse.
Two people have been killed and hundreds injured in countrywide protests set off by Morsi's decree since it was issued last week.
Speaking to TIME
on Wednesday, Morsi defended his decree, saying "around 90%" of the people in Egypt support it.
"What I can see now is, the Egyptians are free. They are raising their voices when they are opposing the president and when they are opposing what’s going on. And this is very important. It’s their right to express and to raise their voices and express their feelings and attitudes," he stated.
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