CAIRO, June 23 General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian armed forces, issued a statement on his Facebook page on Sunday warning of military intervention if politicians fail to narrow their differences and curb violence. The opposition has called mass rallies against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi for June 30.
Here are excerpts, translated from Arabic by Reuters:
"The armed forces are fully aware of what is happening in domestic affairs, while not taking part or interfering because the armed forces function in a neutral way and with complete impartiality.
"There is a state of division in society. Prolonging it poses a danger to the Egyptian state. There must be consensus among all. Those who think that this current situation benefits society are wrong. It harms it and threatens Egyptian national security.
"It is unworthy to remain silent while our Egyptian people are intimidated and terrorised. Death would be more honourable for us than that any one of the people of Egypt should be harmed while their army is present.
"Repeated insults against the army and its leaders and its symbols are an insult to Egyptian nationalism and to the Egyptian people as a whole ... The army will not stay silent against any insult directed at it from now on.
"The armed forces have avoided, in the period that has passed, interfering in the political arena. But its national and moral obligations towards its people make it necessary for it to intervene in order to prevent Egypt slipping into a dark tunnel of conflict, domestic killing and criminality, treason, sectarian strife or the collapse of state institutions.
"Those who think that we are divorced from the dangers that threaten the Egyptian state are wrong. We will not remain silent as the country slips into a conflict that is hard to control.
"The armed forces call on everyone ... to find a formula for understanding and consensus and genuine reconciliation to protect Egypt and its people. We have one week in which a lot can be achieved.
"The will of the Egyptian nation is what governs us and we protect it with honour. We are completely responsible for protecting it.
"We cannot permit a violation of the will of the people." (Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and David Stamp)