Egypt’s president has rejected an army ultimatum to resolve the ongoing crisis within 48 hours. The military insisted that unless a solution is found, they will introduce a roadmap for the country’s future, stressing that national security was at risk.
“The president of the republic was not consulted about the statement issued by the armed forces,” the communiqué pointed out. “The presidency sees that some of the statements in it carry meanings that could cause confusion in the complex national environment.”
Official footage was released showing President Morsi meeting the uniformed military general Abdel Fattah Sisi. It was unclear when the video was shot.
The statement from Morsi’s office further avowed the Egyptian presidency would remain on “its previously plotted path to promote comprehensive national reconciliation … regardless of any statements that deepen divisions between citizens.”
A day earlier, the military declared the nation was in great danger after millions of Egyptians took to the streets Sunday to demand Morsi step down.
“If the demands of the people are not realized within the defined period, it will be incumbent upon (the armed forces) to announce a road map for the future,” said the statement by General Adbel Fattah al-Sisi the Commander-In-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
The statement continued that the armed forces have sensed the seriousness of the situation currently facing the Egyptian people and that they had already issued a warning over a week ago calling for the politicians to achieve some kind of consensus to bring stability to the country.
“The armed forces sensed early on the dangers of the current situation and the demands the great people have at this time. Therefore, it previously set a deadline of a week for all political forces in the country to come to a consensus and get out of this crisis. However, the week has passed without any sign of an initiative. Wasting more time will only bring more division and conflict, which we have warned about and continue to warn about,” the statement read.
Bel Trew, RT’s correspondent in Cairo, said that this basically means that if the situation does not improve the army will intervene.
“It’s something people here have been discussing a lot, with people on one side saying they want the military to step in as the deepening crisis continues, on the other side people are fearful of the military taking over,” said Trew, speaking on the phone from Cairo.
The army was in charge of Egypt for a year after Hosni Murbarak stepped down and during that period there were a number of human rights violations, including deaths at the hands of the military.
Trew explained that many people were unhappy with the military in power and celebrated the fact that they had democratic elections which brought in a civilian government. So the president has been put between a hard place and a rock, she explained, as people are calling on him to step down so either he resigns or in 48-hours the military will step in.
Morsi will give a press conference from the presidential palace later this evening to give his reaction to the military’s announcement.
For its part the army insisted that it would not get directly involved in politics or government and that it sought “the participation of all factions and national parties including young people”.
On Cairo’s Tahir Square, which has been the center of the anti-government protests, hundreds of thousands celebrated the army’s declaration.
“We want a new armed forces council to govern until new elections,” Mohamed Ibrahim, an accountant told Reuters.
The main opposition movement, the National Salvation Front, which has been demanding a unity government for months, applauded the statement while anti Morsi protesters camped outside the presidential palace cheered the army move.
Sunday’s rallies were the biggest in Egypt’s history, according to AFP.