Egypt army to step in if unrest breaks out: Defense minister

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Egypt’s Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has warned that the army will intervene if violence erupts in the country, as anti-government rallies are planned to be held on June 30.

“The armed forces have the obligation to intervene to stop Egypt from plunging into a dark tunnel of conflict and infighting,” al-Sisi said ahead of the first anniversary of President Mohamed Morsi’s election amid calls by the opposition for his resignation.

Sisi also called on all the Egyptians to set aside their differences, saying, “It is the national and moral duty of the army to intervene… to prevent sectarian strife or the collapse of state institutions.”
“Those who think that we ignore the dangers facing the Egyptian nation are mistaken. We will not remain silent in the face of the country’s plunge into conflict,” he added.

The remarks came after two supporters of the Egyptian president were killed in separate incidents during recent clashes.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian president has repeated his call for dialogue with the opposition in order to forge a roadmap and eliminate the existing disagreements in the North African country.

In an interview published in Akhbar al-Youm newspaper on June 22, he said, “I have said it before. I urge everyone to sit together to discuss what would achieve the interests of our nation.”

On the same day, senior Egyptian opposition figure, Mohamed ElBaradei, urged Morsi to resign ahead of June 30 anti-government protests which he said are intended to “correct the path” of the popular uprising that toppled former dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Wael Ghonim, who is the most iconic youth figure of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, in a video message posted on the Internet on Sunday also asked Morsi to resign.

Ghonim said the incumbent Egyptian president must act like a “patriotic Egyptian” and step down to prevent the “strife” that the country is heading to.

Egyptian activists and opposition leaders have gathered millions of petitions, calling for Morsi’s ouster. They also seek to press him for an early presidential election through the June 30 demonstrations.

 

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