Continued from page 2

CAIRO | Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Thursday improving economic growth and dealing with social disparities are top priorities for the Arab world’s most populous nation, challenging his political opponents to take them on.

Near daily protests in Egypt have brought attention to rising living costs and other economic problems, giving opponents of Mr. Mubarak’s three-decade rule a rallying point.

Reformists also have demanded greater political freedoms, including legal changes that would allow for freer elections and serious competition to Mr. Mubarak in next year’s presidential elections.

From wire dispatches and staff reports