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Egypt's Islamist alliance rejects using army to attack "legitimacy"


15:09, July 02, 2013

CAIRO, July 2 (Xinhua) -- An Egyptian alliance of Islamist parties on Tuesday rejected any attempt to use the army to attack the "legitimacy," apparently referring to that of the president.

All initiatives to resolve the confrontation between opponents and supporters of the president must abide by "legitimacy and constitutional principles," the National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy, comprising several Islamist parties, said in a statement.

The alliance, which also includes the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, called on the Egyptians to take to the streets to defend "legitimacy" and oppose any sort of "coup."

It was in response to a surprise move of the Egyptian armed forces that gave President Mohamed Morsi an ultimatum to meet the demands of the people and resolve the crisis.

In an audio speech aired on state TV on Monday, Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi set a 48-hour deadline for all parties to resolve the ongoing crisis, saying otherwise a military-supervised road-map would be imposed for the future of Egypt.

The defense minister said that the deadline represents "the last chance" for all parties to meet the demands of the people, calling the current circumstances "historic."

"Wasting more time will lead to worse division and conflict," Sisi warned, noting that the people have already suffered enough in the turmoil.

He said that the army's future road-map would be carried out "with the participation of all honest parties and national forces, particularly the youth."

However, "the armed forces will not be any part of politics or rule," Sisi stressed.

Army spokesperson Ahmed Ali said on the army's official website that the army culture and discipline do not permit "military coups", stressing Sisi's statement was an "interaction" with the people's demands.

The Presidency rejected the statement early Tuesday, noting Egypt will not allow any step backward no matter what the circumstances are and the presidency would carry forward its own plan for national reconciliation.

The president's supporters say Morsi derives legitimacy from the ballot box as winner of the first free democratic elections in Egypt, asserting "legitimacy is a red line" and vowing to defend Morsi until death.

The army statement, however, was cheered by people staging anti-government protests on the streets as well as the main opposition National Salvation Front, which has demanded for months a national unity government.

The nationwide anti-government protests culminated on Sunday when millions of people took to the streets to demand the resignation of Morsi and complained about the country's troubled economy and a power grab by the Muslim Brotherhood.

At least 24 people were killed and some 1,200 others injured in the past week's violence. The headquarters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood were attacked.

In another development, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr has tendered his resignation, the official MENA news agency reported Tuesday without saying the source of the information.

He was the sixth minister to quit their job since the start of the mass protests. Before the ministers, five members of the Shura Council, or the upper house of the Egyptian parliament, announced their resignation, citing Morsi's failure to present any solution to the political crisis of the Arab country.

The Egyptians have been suffering from constant political turmoil and economic woes after nation-wide protests on Jan. 25, 2011, which toppled their long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.

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