Ultimatum to Mursi `not a military coup’, says Egypt Army

Egyptian Army denied that the 48 hours ultimatum given to President Mohammed Mursi , was a military coup, reports said Tuesday.

Updated: Jul 02, 2013, 11:19 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Cairo: Egyptian Army denied that the 48 hours ultimatum given to President Mohammed Mursi , was a military coup, reports said Tuesday.

Egyptian Army was clarifying the move after many in Muslim Brotherhood used the word ‘coup’ to describe the ultimatum.

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," it said.

"The Egyptian Armed Forces will not become involved in politics or administration; it is satisfied with its role as is spelt out in line with democratic norms," said Army, stressing that Egyptian national security was in "great danger".

To the cheers of millions protesting against Mursi at Tahrir Square and across the country, Egyptian Army yesterday issued a 48-hours ultimatum to President to meet the demands of millions of protesters in the streets seeking his ouster.

Mursi has rejected the ultimatum as a divisive statement by the Army and has vowed to go on with his plan to ‘promote comprehensive national reconciliation’.

"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," Mursi’s office said in a statement issued late night.

"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 statement added.

Reacting to the military ultimatum, multiple officials of Mursi`s Muslim Brotherhood insisted that the military and street protests cannot overturn the legitimacy of the president`s election.

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`s stance also raises a unsettling prospect for many of Mursi`s opponents as well — the potential return of the military that ruled Egypt directly for nearly 17 months after the Feb. 11, 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. During that time, many of those now in the anti-Mursi campaign led protests against military rule, angered by its management of the transition and heavy hand, including killings of protesters.

Even many who welcomed Monday`s announcement expressed worries over a possible outright military takeover.
As a result of the political crisis, six ministers have resigned, with the latest being Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr.

The BBC quoted Egypt`s state news agency Mena on Tuesday saying that Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr had submitted his resignation.

Army`s ultimatum was greeted with joy by thousands of protesters, who have been demanding 61-year-old Musri`s resignation.

"Come down Sissi, Mursi is not my president," the protesters chanted, calling on the country`s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, to intervene.

Earlier, anti-government protesters also stormed the national headquarters of Muslim Brotherhood here. They also ransacked the six-storey building and set it on fire.

State media quoting the country`s Health and Population Ministry said the nationwide death toll from June 30 protests stands at 16, with the total number of injuries estimated at 743 in 17 governorates.
With Agency Inputs