Egypt's army-backed rulers and allies of deposed President Mohamed Morsi have given the first signs of a readiness to compromise, pressed by Western envoys trying to head off more bloodshed.
Faced with the threat of a crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, diplomacy appeared to pick up pace, a month to the day since Egypt's army deposed Morsi and plunged the country into turmoil.
Recognising for the first time the strength of popular protest against his one-year rule, Morsi's allies said on
Saturday they respected the demands of millions who took to the streets before his overthrow.
Also on Saturday, the interim foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, offered an "open invitation" for all groups to take part in a road map for reconciliation but first called for an end to violence.
His comments came as Egyptian police called on supporters of Morsi to abandon their sit-ins, saying it would pave the way for his Muslim Brotherhood to return to a normal role in the country's political process.
However, Morsi's backers have vowed to continue protesting until he was reinstated.
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Fahmy said: "We cannot truly achieve reconciliation, no matter how hard we try, if there is a continuation of incitement of violence or a continuation of violence out on the street."
Meanwhile, backers of Morsi on Saturday carried on with their weeks-long rallies in two encampments in Cairo.
Tarek El-Malt, a spokesperson for the pro-Morsi bloc, said on Saturday his group wanted a solution that would "respect all popular desires", while rejecting any role for the army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who led the overthrow of Morsi, in any political deal.
El-Malt said that these messages had been given at talks on Saturday in Cairo with the US Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns, and the European Union envoy Bernadino Leon.
'Turning backs on Egyptians'
Sisi, meanwhile, urged the US to use its leverage over the Muslim Brotherhood to end a political crisis.
He also told the Washington Post newspaper on Saturday that he did not "aspire for authority".
He also accused the US administration of failing to properly support Egypt.
"You left the Egyptians. You turned your back on the Egyptians, and they won't forget that," Sisi was quoted as saying. "Now you want to continue turning your backs on Egyptians?"
The US has walked a delicate line on Egypt, opting against labeling Morsi's removal a "coup".
On Thursday, John Kerry, the US Secretary of State said Egyptian military was "restoring democracy" in ousting Morsi, the strongest US show of support to the Egyptian army since July 3.
Kerry maintained that all parties needed to work toward a peaceful and "inclusive" political resolution of the crisis.
More than 280 people have been killed in violence since Morsi was deposed.
The bloodiest incident took place last week, when more than 80 pro-Morsi supporters were killed in clashes with police near the sit-in at Rabaah al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo.