CAIRO, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's political rivals met Thursday and signed an agreement denouncing violence and setting up mechanisms for a national dialogue to get the country out of the ongoing crisis.
The meeting, sponsored by Egypt's top Islamic institution al- Azhar, was attended by leaders of the Egyptian rival factions, including the main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front ( NSF).
Liberal politician and former diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, and leftist former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy attended the meeting, along with leaders of Islamist parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood ( MB)'s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Salafist al-Nour Party, and moderate al-Wasat Party.
ElBaradei said that the political and national forces would do their best to build trust and credibility among one another through the intended dialogue committee.
"I am optimistic after the meeting at al-Azhar, yet we have a lot of challenges ahead," ElBaradei added.
FJP leader Mohamed Saad al-Katatni said after the meeting that "dialogue based on guarantees rather than conditions is the only way to solve Egypt's problems in the democratic transition," referring to the preconditions the NSF put forward Monday when it rejected President Mohamed Morsi's invitation for dialogue.
For his part, head of al-Wasat Party Abul-Ela Madi said the meeting underlined all Egyptian political rivals' rejection of violence and the formation of a dialogue committee involving all political forces.
Meanwhile, representative of youth in the meeting, blogger and political activist Wael Ghoneim, affirmed that the meeting was consultative rather than political, noting "the dialogue committee that will involve all political and national factions will be formed soon."
During the meeting, participant parties agreed on the right of a decent life for all citizens and affirmed that bloodshed and violence were totally refused.
The agreement also distinguished between positive political activities and destructive practices, stressing the necessity of peaceful ways of political expression and reconciliation between all rival sides.
"State security institutions are committed to their role of protecting the citizens' security and their constitutional freedoms," the agreement document stated, adding that protecting the country is the responsibility of all sides, including the government, the institutions, the people, the opposition, the political parties, as well as groups and movements.
On Wednesday, ElBaradei called for an urgent meeting with President Morsi, a step that is seen by experts as a major change in the opposition's attitude that in turn marks a change in the country's political scene.
On the other hand, the NSF is due to stage mass nationwide demonstrations on Friday, demanding constitutional amendments, sacking of the current Prosecutor-General Talaat Ibrahim Abdullah, formation of a new "salvation" government, probing into the recent violent clashes that killed over 50 and injured over 1,000, and subjecting the president's MB group to the law.
Raising the slogan of "peacefulness," the NSF said the demonstrations would be a peaceful expression of their dissatisfaction with the president's policies and the MB's alleged attempts to monopolize power.