Egyptian opposition leaders have rejected calls by President Mohammed Morsi to enter a dialogue to resolve a political crisis that spawned after he assumed new sweeping powers.
Thousands of people have marched towards the presidential palace in Cairo for another day of demonstrations against the government, raising the the prospect of an escalation of tensions that have already claimed two lives earlier this week.
Meanwhile, in an overnight address to the nation, Morsi condemned the street violence that has gripped the capital but pledged to forge on with a controversial constitutional referendum process while inviting the opposition for talks.
Rejecting Morsi´s call for dialogue, Ahmed Said, one of the leading members of the opposition coalition, who also heads the liberal Free Egyptians Party, said: "The National Salvation Front (NSF) is not taking part in the dialogue, that is the official stance."
Two other opposition groups, the liberal Wafd party and the National Association for Change, said they were also boycotting the talks, state media reported.
Tensions had flared and clashes broke out in Egypt late last month between supporters and opponents of President Morsi after he decided to give himself near-absolute powers that critics said were even more sweeping than ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak.