Egyptian general issues ultimatum to politicians
Obama urges Muslim Brotherhood to work with opposition after Islamists’ HQ attacked
Protesters opposing Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi wave Egyptian flags and shout slogans against him and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, during a protest in front of El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters.
A protester opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi reads a newspaper during a sit-in protest at Tahrir Square in Cairo. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem.
A general view of a protest against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, in front of El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo yesterday. Photograph: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi throw Molotov cocktails and stones at the national headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo’s Moqattam district last night. the office was ransacked this morning. Photograph: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
The Egyptian general who serves as defence minister has issued an ultimatum to the government to agree a way forward in solving political deadlock within 48 hours.
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the army wantedpoliticians to agree an inclusive road map for a way forward, and that the army itself would do so if they do not.
Time-wasting, he said, would lead to deeper political divisions in the country.
In a statement read on state television, Gen al-Sisi called mass protests yesterday, which called for Islamist President Mohamed Morsi to resign, an “unprecedented” expression of the popular will.
This evening the military has also issued a statement denying that it is involved in what amounts to a coup.
Meanwhile, Mr Morsi has met the head of Egypt’s armed forces along with the prime minister today, according to a statement on the president’s official Facebook page.
The page was updated after Gen al-Sisi issued his ultimatum.
The Facebook page showed a photograph of Mr Morsi with Gen Sisi and prime minister Hisham Kandil, sitting in easy chairs and smiling. It was not clear when it was taken, however.
Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafik has meanwhile claimed the reign of the Muslim Brotherhood will end within a week.
Mr Shafik, whom Mr Morsi narrowly beat in a presidential run-off vote last year, also did not rule out seeking the presidency once again.
“We are going through a stage, which we knew we’d inevitably have to go through. It is not strange. The failure of the Brotherhood cannot be withstood and has led to catastrophes of all kinds and it was completely expected,” Mr Shafik said.
US president Barack Obama has also prodded the Morsi government to work with the opposition and do more to enact democratic reforms, saying US aid to the country was based on such criteria. Mr Obama, speaking at a news conference in Tanzania, said the US was concerned about continued violence in Egypt and urged all sides to work towards a peaceful solution.
It came after the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood was overrun by youths who ransacked the building overnight after those inside had been evacuated.
Security sources said five people were killed in hours of fighting around the besieged building and medical sources said more than 100 were wounded.
Journalists saw youths hurl petrol bombs and rocks at the offices. Guards inside opened fire.
A Brotherhood spokesman later said that the movement had evacuated staff from inside. Live television pictures showed men inside, throwing equipment out of scorched windows. One flew an Egyptian flag from a balcony.