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Egyptian army sets 48 hours as deadline before interference


08:03, July 02, 2013

CAIRO, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian army on Monday set 48 hours as a deadline for all parties to resolve the crisis before imposing a military-supervised roadmap for the future of Egypt, the defense minister said.

"The Armed Forces will not be part of politics or rule," Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi stressed in the audio speech aired on state TV, adding that the 48-hour deadline represents " the last chance" for all the parties to meet the demands of people and resolve the crisis, referring to the current circumstances as "historic."

The army's declaration came amid nationwide outrage against President Mohamed Morsi's administration, led by the Tamarod " Rebel" campaign, which proposed a petition movement and demanded an early presidential elections.

"Wasting more time will lead to more division and conflict," Sisi warned, noting that the people have already been suffering a lot from the ongoing political crisis.

He added that the army's future roadmap would be carried out " with participation of all honest parties and national forces, particularly the youth, without isolation of any party."

"The national security of the country is in danger," the defense minister said, adding the armed forces would not give up its national and historic role.


Protesters at Tahrir square and outside the Ittihadiya presidential palace welcomed the statement with cheers, chanting to express solidarity with the army.

"The Armed Forces are wise enough and they have the ability to end the political crisis," one protester told Xinhua, chanting " the army and people are one hand."

Also, Mahmoud Badr, spokesperson of the Tamarod campaign, said at a televised news conference that "the statement of the armed forces supported the will of the Egyptian people at this moment, which means an early presidential election."

Tamarod, which claimed that it had collected more than 22 million signatures to press the incumbent president to leave, asked the Islamist-oriented leader to resign before Tuesday, calling for civil disobedience also in case the latter chose to stay in office.

However, the Egyptian presidency said Sunday that dialogue is the only option to get the country out of the current political crisis.

Spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood, Jihad Al-Hadad, said the road-map mentioned in the army statement doesn't mean to push the president for an early election.

Following the army speech, former army chief of staff Sami Annan announced resignation as a member of the president consultative panel. The recently appointed governor of Ismailia, affiliated to the MB, has also resigned.

For his part, U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday, "There is a possibility for more violence in Egypt," encouraging all parties to exercise self-control.

"Decisions over aids for Egypt rely on applying the rule of law, and the government has to listen to the opposition, not tending to violence," Obama added.


Earlier Monday, five Egyptian ministers of tourism, environment, communication, legal and parliamentary affairs, and drinking water and sanitation headed to the cabinet to tender their resignations, over the clashes between the pro-and anti-president protesters.

Also, five members of the Shura Council (the upper house of the parliament) have offered resignations and denounced Morsi's speech on Wednesday ahead of the protests, arguing it failed to present any solution to the crisis in Egypt.

In the biggest protests Egypt has witnessed since the 2011 upheaval that toppled ex-president Hosni Mubarak, anti-Morsi protesters took to Tahrir Square and the vicinity of the presidential palace in Cairo, as well as several squares in other governorates, while supporters of Morsi continued their sit-in for the fourth consecutive day at Rabia al-Adawiya Square in Cairo's Nasr City "to defend legitimacy" of the first freely-elected president.

The overnight clashes have killed at least 16 and injured nearly 800 nationwide.

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