Egyptian protesters chant anti Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi slogans outside the presidential palace on Thursday.

Washington - US President Barack Obama expressed “deep concern” over the recent deadly political protests in Egypt, in a call to his counterpart Mohamed Mursi, the White House said.

Obama also told Mursi that it was “essential for Egyptian leaders across the political spectrum to put aside their differences and come together to agree on a path that will move Egypt forward”.

Mursi earlier defied calls to curb his sweeping powers or suspend proposed changes to the constitution, infuriating thousands of protesters who have clashed with his supporters in recent days.

Seven people died and another 644 were injured in clashes between Mursi’s Islamist supporters and his secular opponents on Wednesday in Egypt’s worst political crisis since Mursi took office in June.

The US president welcomed Mursi’s call for dialogue beginning on Saturday in his offices, but said it “should occur without preconditions” and urged opposition leaders to take part.

Obama “reiterated the US’s continued support for the Egyptian people and their transition to a democracy that respects the rights of all Egyptians.”

The anti-Mursi camp is furious with the president for assuming sweeping powers two weeks ago and by what it feels was the railroading through by an Islamist-dominated panel of the draft constitution. – Sapa-AFP