Egyptian armed forces chief sets ultimatum
CAIRO (Reuters) - General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, head of the Egyptian armed forces, issued a statement on Monday giving feuding politicians 48 hours to settle their differences or the military would impose its own "roadmap" for the country.
Here is a transcript of his broadcast remarks, translated by Reuters:
"Egypt and the entire world witnessed protests yesterday by the great Egyptian people, expressing their views and their will in a peaceful, civil and unprecedented manner. Everyone saw the movement of the Egyptian people and listened to their voice with respect and interest. It is essential that the people's action and demands receive a response from all parties which bear some measure of responsibility in this dangerous environment for the nation.
"The Egyptian armed forces, as a principle component of the future equation, and based on its national and historic responsibility to protect the security and welfare of this nation, affirms the following:
"The armed forces will not take part in the political or governing arena and is against exceeding the role accorded to it by genuine democratic principles rooted in the will of the people;
"The security of the nation faces real dangers from the recent developments in the country, which places responsibilities on all of us, each according to their roles, and to what is necessary to fend off these risks.
"The armed forces were quick to realize the danger of the current situation as well as the demands of the great Egyptian people. That is why it set a one-week ultimatum for all political forces to reach consensus and pull out of the crisis. But that week has passed without any initiative or action. This is what led the people to persevere and independently take to the streets in an impressive way, which has drawn admiration and attention domestically, regionally and internationally.
"Wasting more time will only lead to more divisions and strife, of which we have been warning and continue to warn.
"The people have suffered and have found no one to give them care and kindness, and this presents a moral and psychological burden for the armed forces, which concludes that everyone should stop doing anything other than embracing the proud people, who have proven their readiness to do the impossible, if they feel loyalty and dedication toward them.
"The armed forces repeat their call to respond to the people's demands and gives everyone a 48-hour deadline to carry the burden of these historic circumstances that the nation is going through. It will not forgive or tolerate any shortcomings in bearing their responsibilities.
"The armed forces warns everyone that if the demands of the people are not met during this set time period, it will be obliged, due to its national and historic duties, out of respect for the demands of the great Egyptian people, to announce a roadmap and measures for the future, which it would oversee in collaboration with all the loyal national factions and movements, including the youth who were and remain the spark of the glorious revolution. No one would be ignored.
"A salute of appreciation and fondness to the faithful and loyal men of the armed forces, who bore and continue to bear their national responsibility toward the great Egyptian people with all determination, perseverance and pride.
"God protect Egypt and its great proud people"
(Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)