Egypt crisis: Mursi rejects Army`s 48-hour ultimatum
Zee Media Bureau
Cairo: Hours after Egyptian Army issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Mohammed Mursi, the President issued a statement rejecting the Army warning and vowing to continue with his national reconciliation plan to resolve the crisis.
"The civil democratic Egyptian state is one of the most important achievements of the January 25 revolution. Egypt will absolutely not permit any step backward whatever the circumstances," said a statement issued by Mursi’s office.
According to the President’s office, Mursi was consulting "with all national forces to secure the path of democratic change and the protection of the popular will".
Slamming Army’s manoeuvre as a divisive step, the statement said, “The presidency confirms that it is going forward on its previously plotted path to promote comprehensive national reconciliation ... regardless of any statements that deepen divisions between citizens".
"The president of the republic was not consulted about the statement issued by the armed forces. The presidency sees that some of the statements in it carry meanings that could cause confusion in the complex national environment," the statement added.
In wake of the fierce protests by millions of protesters demanding Mursi’s resignation, Egyptian Army yesterday warned that it will intervene if people`s demands were not met within 48 hours.
"If the demands of the people are not met in this period... (the armed forces) will announce a future roadmap and measures to oversee its implementation," said the army statement, which was read out on television.
An alliance of the Brotherhood and other Islamists read as statement at a televised press conference calling on all people "to rally in defense of legitimacy and reject any attempt to overturn it."
Pro-Mursi marches numbering in the several thousands began after nightfall in a string of cities around the country. In Cairo, thousands of Islamists massing outside a mosque near the Ittihadiya presidential palace reacted with shock and fury to the military announcement, some vowing to fight against what they called a coup against the "Islamist project."
Army troops at checkpoints on roads leading to the pro-Mursi rally checked cars for weapons, after repeated reports some Islamists were arming themselves.
The Army, however, in a new statement today said its motive was to find a speedy solution to the situation.
The military issued a statement on its Facebook page denying it intended a coup.
"The ideology and culture of the Egyptian armed forces does not allow for the policy of a military coup and was issued to force politicians to find a speedy solution for the deadlock."
"The Armed Forces is neither the ruler nor part of the political scene and will not abandon its designated role."
With Agency Inputs
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