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Egypt's army gives parties 48 hours to resolve crisis

AFRICA
By BBC | July 1st 2013

Cairo, Egypt: Egypt's army has given the country's rival parties 48 hours to resolve a deadly political crisis.

It would offer its own "road map" for peace if Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his opponents failed to to heed "the will of the people", it said.

The statement came after anti-government protesters stormed the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Eight people died as the building was ransacked, a day after millions rallied nationwide urging Mr Morsi to quit.

The head of the armed forces described the protests as an "unprecedented" expression of the popular will.

But in his pre-recorded statement broadcast on state television on Monday evening, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the army would not get involved in politics or government.

Protesters outside the presidential palace cheered and honked car horns at news of Gen Sisi's statement, believing it spelt the end for Mr Morsi, says the BBC's Khaled Ezzelarab in Cairo.

Earlier, the opposition movement behind the protests, Tamarod (Rebel), gave Mr Morsi until Tuesday afternoon to step down and call fresh presidential elections, or else face a campaign of civil disobedience.

On Saturday, Tamarod said it had collected more than 22 million signatures - more than a quarter of Egypt's population - in support.

But Mr Morsi was defiant in an interview published on Sunday, rejecting calls for early presidential elections.

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad Haddad told the BBC the roadmap referred to by Gen Sisi did not necessarily increase pressure on the president to call early presidential elections.

Rather, he said, the pressure was on Egypt's constitutional court to swiftly issue a new parliamentary law and to call for parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, the al-Watan website said the ministers of tourism, environment, communication and legal affairs had resigned in an act of "solidarity with the people's demand to overthrow the regime".

-BBC

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