Egypt's defence minister defends ousting
15 July 2013, 08:45
Cairo - In his first remarks since Mohammed Morsi's
ouster, Egypt's military chief said on Sunday the armed forces acted
according to the will of the people, because the former Islamist
government had stumbled.
General Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi made his
comments on the eve of another round of mass protests by Morsi's
Islamist supporters who have accused the military of staging a coup and
demanded the reinstatement of Egypt's first democratically elected
Also Sunday, Egypt's chief prosecutor froze the assets
of Mohammed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from
which Morsi hails, and at least 13 other senior members of the Islamist
The US state department's No 2 diplomat, William Burns,
arrived in Cairo on Sunday, the first visit by a high-level American
official since Morsi's ouster.
Burns was scheduled to meet with
Egypt's interim government officials as well as civil society and
business leaders during his two-day visit.
department says Burns would underscore in his meetings US support for
the Egyptian people and a transition leading to an inclusive,
democratically elected civilian government.
The 3 July overthrow
of Morsi has come under criticism from many in the international
community because of concerns about its effect on Egypt's efforts to
become a democracy following the February 2011 toppling of autocrat
Hosni Mubarak's regime in a popular uprising.
Al-Sissi said the
Supreme Council of the Armed Forces respected the June 2012 elections
that propelled Morsi to power with a narrow victory and tried to stay
out of politics.
But he said the military could no longer
stand on the sidelines as millions of Egyptians took to the streets to
call for the Islamist leader to step down because of allegations he was
abusing his power.
Al-Sissi said he reached out to Morsi through
two envoys, including then prime minister Hesham Kandil, on more than
one occasion urging him to hold a referendum on whether voters still
supported his presidency, but the suggestion was rejected out of hand.
one is a guardian of the public, and no one can dictate or force a path
or thought that they don't accept," al-Sissi said in remarks to
officers, which were reported by state-run media.
forces sincerely accepted the choice of the people, but then political
decision-making began stumbling and the armed forces took the view that
any correction or adjustment must come from only one source and that is
the legitimacy of the people."
Morsi has been held by the army in an undisclosed location since his removal from office.