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Obama calls Morsi to express concern over Egypt crisis
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07/02/2013 05:13 AM
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US President Barack Obama called President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt to express concerns over an escalating political crisis, the White House said.
Obama placed the call from Tanzania, on the final stop of his African tour and told him Washington was committed to "the democratic process in Egypt and does not support any single party or group," the official said.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi rejects army ultimatum
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has rejected the ultimatum of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which on Monday gave all politicians in the country 48-hours to "meet the demands of the Egyptian people”, saying he will continue with his own plan for national reconciliation.
"The civil democratic Egyptian state is one of the most important achievements of the January 25 revolution," the statement continued, referring to the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak.
"Egypt will absolutely not permit any step backward whatever the circumstances," it added.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s army banned Morsi from leaving the country. This was reported by representatives of the opposition movement "Tamarrod"(Rebellion), which stands behind the mass protests. According to them, the ban on travel abroad applies, besides the president, to representatives of his office, as well as those from the association "Muslim Brotherhood."
Egyptian Foreign Minister tenders his resignation
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr has tendered his resignation, the state news agency MENA reported early on Tuesday, after millions of Egyptians rallied against President Mohamed Morsi.
The report did not elaborate or say where it got the information.
Earlier, ten Egyptian ministers and three governors resigned in protest at President Mohamed Morsi's failure to respond to nationwide protests against his rule.
On Monday the Egyptian army delivered an ultimatum to President Mohamed Morsi asking him to meet the people’s demands and resolve huge protests against his rule or face an intervention within 48 hours.
The statement added that if the situation were not resolved within 48 hours the armed forces would have “to announce a road map for the future and the steps for overseeing its implementation, with participation of all patriotic and sincere parties and movements”.
Rift among Islamists in Egypt
Egypt’s second-largest Islamist Nour Party said on Monday it feared the army's return to public life "in a big way" after the military gave politicians 48 hours to resolve the country's political crisis. The Nour Party believed Egypt’s national security was threatened by the division between the ruling Islamists and their opponents.
The party, which has called for dialogue before, later issued a statement on its Facebook page calling on the president to set a date for early presidential elections - one of the main demands of the protesters.
It also called for the formation of a "neutral, technocratic government".
The position of "Nour" virtually means there is a rift among the Islamists. In point of fact, the Salafists have supported the basic demands of the National Salvation Front and the revolutionary youth.
Earlier, the Egyptian Islamist parties, members of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, called on their supporters to flood the squares in response to the ultimatum of the military and stand in the way of a coup.
At a press conference during the night at Rabia al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo leaders of the "Muslim Brotherhood" condemned attempts by some groups to use the Egyptian army to make a stand against the legitimate government.
Egypt's army fears provocations
The Egyptian Army Command has warned its citizens of possible provocations in the coming days aimed at discrediting the army, urging the population to be vigilant. This is contained in a statement published on the Egypt army’s official Facebook page.
"All the military are stationed in specified positions which they can leave only on orders of the military command.
People in uniform in areas where people are rallying should arouse suspicion. We urge citizens to question the identity of uniformed people prior to interacting with them," - RIA Novosti quotes the statement.
The military also warned citizens of responsibility for illegal wearing of military uniform, as well as unauthorized approach to military sites that "may also threaten the lives of offenders."
Egypt's Interior Ministry in solidarity with army statement
Egypt's Interior Ministry has expressed its solidarity with the statement of the army in order to maintain the country’s security. "We will not abandon the people who turned out in full force to express their will in a way that stunned the whole world," - said a Ministry statement made public Monday evening.
The Ministry confirmed that "in this difficult period for the country the police would not abandon to their fate the people that had rallied in huge numbers", ITAR-TASS reported.
"With all responsibility we declare that we will serve to protect citizens, all critical facilities, and the safety of protesters," - said a representative of the Interior Ministry.
Egyptian opposition won’t talk with Morsi
Egypt’s main opposition bloc said on Monday it would not hold talks with the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, hours after the army gave feuding politicians 48 hours to resolve a national crisis or face an imposed solution.
"We are not going to talk to Morsi because we don't see him as legitimate anymore," said Khaled Dawoud, spokesman for the National Salvation Front, a group of liberal and leftist politicians.
Dawoud said the front had agreed on Monday evening to delegate Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the group's leaders, to represent it in any talks with the army.
"Our demands are mainly that President Morsi resign, and that we will need a strong government and a temporary president," he said.
Egyptian armed forces denies "coup", aims to push politicians
The Egyptian armed forces issued a statement on Monday denying that an earlier statement from its commander amounted to a military coup and said his aim was only to push politicians to reach consensus.
Denying any political ambitions for itself, the military said it was responding to the "pulse of the Egyptian street" in issuing an ultimatum to political leaders to unite after mass rallies on Sunday against President Mohamed Morsi.
Egyptian Army gives country's politicians 48 hours to comply with people's demands
The announcement by armed forces spokesman Colonel Ahmed Aly came after millions took to the streets on Sunday to demand the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and as calls for army intervention to resolve the crisis multiplied.
Egypt’s military on Monday gave the country's political parties an ultimatum to hold a meeting within 48 hours after 16 people were killed during mass protests against the government of President Mohammed Morsi.
In a statement read on state television, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said if this deadline was not met it would issue a road map to end the crisis.
Al-Sisi called the protests against Morsi an "unprecedented" expression of the popular will.
As the armed forces statement was issued, President Barack Obama urged all sides to refrain from violence shortly after he arrived in Tanzania.
Tahrir Square erupted in joy after Egypt army statement.
Early Monday anti-government protesters ransacked the headquarters of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.
That followed a day of violence that left at least 16 people dead and more than 700 injured in protests throughout the country.
The headquarters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood was ransacked as widespread protests against President Mohammed Morsi turned violent.
The attack on the Brotherhood building was bloodiest incident of the weekend's huge and mostly peaceful protests against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
It began after dark Sunday and continued for hours, with guards inside the suburban Cairo building firing on youths hurling fire bombs and rocks.
Protesters breached the Cairo compound's defenses and stormed the building. Crowds later carried off furniture, files, rugs, air conditioning units and portraits of Morsi, according to an Associated Press journalist. One protester emerged with a pistol and handed it over to a policeman outside.
Footage on local television showed broken windows, blackened walls and smoke coming out of the building. A fire was still raging on one floor hours after the building was invaded. One protester tore down the Muslim Brotherhood sign from the building's front wall, while another hoisted Egypt's red, black and white flag out an upper-story window and waved it in the air in triumph.
The images were reminiscent of the destruction of the state security headquarters when Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011.
A spokesman for the Brotherhood said it would be demanding answers from security officials who failed to protect it. He said two of those inside were injured before a security detail from the movement was able to evacuate all those inside the compound in mid-morning.
Organizers behind Sunday's protests, who managed to get 22 million signatures calling on Morsi to step down, said they would give him until Tuesday at 5 p.m. (11 a.m. ET) to meet their demands otherwise they would call for nationwide strikes.
Protesters also demanded early elections, but late on Sunday night word from the presidential palace was that Morsi had no intentions of calling them.
Some anti-Morsi protesters spent Sunday night in dozens of tents pitched in the capital's central Tahrir Square and in front of the president's Ittihadiya Palace. They have vowed to stay there until Morsi resigns. Morsi supporters, meanwhile, went on with their sit-in in front of a major mosque in Cairo.
Sunday's protests were the largest seen in Egypt in the 2½ years of turmoil since the ouster of autocratic Mubarak in February 2011.
Five Egypt ministers quit Morsi's cabinet, Muslim Brotherhood vows action
Egypt's ministers of tourism, environment, communications, public utilities and parliamentary affairs tendered their resignations on Monday a day after massive protests against President Mohamed Morsi swept the country, a senior government official told AFP.
The five handed in their letters of resignation together to Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, the official said.
Tourism minister Hisham Zazou had already tried to resign last month after Morsi appointed Adel al-Khayat, a member of an Islamist party linked to a massacre of tourists in Luxor, as governor of the temple city.
The Islamist president on June 16 named Khayat along with 16 other new governors, including seven from his Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Khayat is a member of the political arm of ex-Islamic militant group Gamaa Islamiya, which claimed responsibility for the massacre of 58 tourists at Luxor in 1997.
But Zazou returned to work last week after Khayat quit.Monday's resignations come amid a campaign of civil disobedience and a day after massive nationwide protests against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood vows action after HQ attacked
Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood said on Monday that armed men who ransacked its national headquarters had crossed a red line of violence, and the movement was considering action to defend itself.
Gehad El-Haddad, spokesman of the Islamist movement, told Reuters in a telephone interview that Egyptians would not sit by and tolerate attacks on their institutions.
"It's very dangerous for one entity in society to take up violence as a means of change because it may entice others to do so. The Muslim Brotherhood is a disciplined organization," he said, criticising the security forces for failing to protect the headquarters in Sunday's attack.
Haddad referred to the creation of people's self-defence committees during the 2011 uprising that overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak.
Asked whether the Brotherhood was calling for a similar move now, he said the movement's Guidance Bureau was in session and would make an announcement at a news conference later on Monday.
"The people will not sit silent," the spokesman said.
16 dead in Sunday Egypt protests: health ministry
At least 16 people died in protests across Egypt on Sunday, including eight in clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, the health ministry said on Monday.
A further three people died in the central province of Assiut and one in each of the provinces of Fayoum, Beni Sueif and Kafr el-Sheikh.
One protester suffocated to death at the rally outside the presidential palace in Cairo and another died of wounds in the coastal city of Alexandria, the ministry said.
Egypt protesters storm Muslim Brotherhood HQ in Cairo
Egyptian protesters on Monday stormed the headquarters of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood after deadly clashes there between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi who hails from the group, an AFP correspondent said.
The building in Cairo's Moqattam district was set ablaze before people stormed inside and began throwing things out of the windows, as others were seen leaving with items including furniture.
Witnesses told AFP there were no Brotherhood members still inside the building, after they were escorted out by a group of people early on Monday.
Egypt clashes death toll reaches 6 - report
Six people were killed in unrest as protesters flooded Egypt's streets calling for Islamist President Mohamed Morsi to step down, the health ministry said on Monday.
Five people were killed when clashes broke out on Sunday evening and another person died overnight from injuries, a ministry official told a private satellite channel.
Some protesters had attacked the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.
Television pictures showed the building on fire as dozens of people attacked it, throwing stones and fire bombs.
Supporters of the Brotherhood fired buckshot at the attackers in a bid to repel them, an AFP journalist at the scene said.
Later, automatic weapons fire could be heard around the building. Hundreds of demonstrators spent the night in Cairo's iconic protest site Tahrir Square and outside the presidential palace, after the army estimated that millions took to the streets to call for Morsi's resignation.
Sunday's turnout, on the first anniversary of Morsi's inauguration, was described as the largest ever protest in the country's history.
"Long live the people," read the headline of the independent daily al-Tahrir, while Al-Masry al-Youm labelled Sunday's protests the "June 30 revolution".
Egypt has been deeply divided between Morsi's Islamist supporters who vowed to defend his legitimacy as the first Egyptian president elected in a free vote, while his opponents accuse him of installing an Islamist monopoly in state institutions.
Egypt protests won’t affect 60,000 Russian tourists
Russia’s tourist authority has said the ongoing Egyptian protests won’t affect dozens of thousands of Russian tourists who have picked the African country as their destination this summer.
At least 60,000 Russian holiday revelers are estimated to have flocked to Egyptian resorts, with Hurghada or Sharm el Sheikh as their primal destinations.
The authority said demonstrations to mark the anniversary of President Morsi’s swear-in had been announced beforehand.
“It is a scheduled event which is expected to tackle some of the country’s most urgent home problems,” the source said. “But resorts remain islands of calm.”
According to statistics, mass rallies have in no way averted Russian holiday-makers from the southern resorts, and there has been no marked rush by people to cancel their vacations.
Egypt opposition sets Tuesday deadline for Morsi to go
Egyptian opposition Tamarod movement which led mass nationwide protests against President Mohamed Morsi has given the Islamist leader until Tuesday to resign, threatening a campaign of civil disobedience if he stays.
"We give Mohamed Morsi until 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Tuesday July 2 to leave power, allowing state institutions to prepare for early presidential elections," Tamarod said in a statement on its website.Otherwise, "Tuesday, 5:00 pm will be the beginning of a complete civil disobedience campaign," it said.
Tamarod - Arabic for Rebellion - is a grassroots campaign which says it collected more than 22 million signatures seeking to withdraw confidence from Morsi.
It was behind Sunday's protests that saw millions of people take to the streets demanding his departure on the first anniversary of his inauguration as president.
In its statement, Tamarod called on the army, the police and the judiciary to stand with the protesters.
It urged "state institutions including the army, the police and the judiciary to clearly side with the popular will as represented by the crowds" on Sunday.
It rejected presidential calls for dialogue, saying: "There is no way to accept any halfway measures."
"There is no alternative other than the peaceful end of power of the Muslim Brotherhood and its representative, Mohamed Morsi."
Morsi must resign within 2 days, Egyptian protesters demand
Rallies of people who are demanding the resignation of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi are continuing in Cairo and in several other large Egyptian cities. 11 people have already been killed in clashes between the President's supporters and opponents, and hundreds of people have been wounded or injured.
Egypt's opposition gave President Mohamed Morsi two days to resign according to a statement issued by the youth movement "A-Tamarrud" which is said to have initiated the mass protests on June 30.
If Morsi does not resign by Tuesday evening the opposition promises new mass demonstrations.
"We do not agree on interim solutions and compromises, but a peaceful end to power for the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi" said the youth movement’s leaders. However, they promised to maintain the peaceful nature of their protests and not push the country into the cauldron of civil war.
Meanwhile, the victims of Sunday's clashes in Egypt, according to various sources, range from 6 to 11 people, with more than 600 injured.
The military have stated that the number of Egyptians taking to the streets, was unprecedented, at some 17 million people.
Egypt's Morsi working to fix mistakes - spokesman
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi knows he has made mistakes and is working to fix them, a spokesman for the Egyptian leader said on Sunday after a day of mass protests demanding that the head of state quit.
Presidential spokesman Omar Amer said Morsi was serious in his repeated calls for national dialogue.
"(Morsi) announced to all of Egypt's people he made mistakes and that he is in the process of fixing these mistakes," Amer told a late-night news conference after millions took to the streets to demand Mursi leave power.
He added that Morsi had "extended his hand" for dialogue and wanted to listen to everyone, repeating the president's previous calls for national dialogue which the opposition has rebuffed as not serious.
"I want to confirm one truth, if there is a total lack of response to this initiative, no listening to it, no interest in it from any side, what do you think the presidency can do?" the president's spokesman said.
"The presidency is now waiting for a reaction, no matter how small, so it can build on it."
Muslim Brotherhood offices burning in Cairo
On Sunday Protesters in Egypt destroyed and set on fire, to several representative offices of the Islamist movement the Muslim Brotherhood. Party offices were burning in El Mansoura and Tanta north of Cairo.
In Tanta opponents of the president stormed the building of the Islamists after the Muslim Brotherhood began to shoot at protesters.
Mass rallies calling for the resignation of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and early elections began on June 30 all across the country.
Cairo's Tahrir Square is filled to capacity, just as it was two years ago, when former president Hosni Mubarak was forced from power.
In Alexandria, police mounted Egyptian flags on police vehicles in solidarity with the protesters.
Many police officers and officials have already announced their support for the opposition.
In the near future, representatives of the Presidt of Egypt will make statements about the situation in the country.
Voice of Russia, TASS, RIA, AFP, dpa
Read more: [link to english.ruvr.ru]
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07/02/2013 06:13 AM
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07/02/2013 10:04 AM
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