Cairo: Embattled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi today rejected the army’s 48-hour ultimatum to resolve the country’s deadly crisis, saying he would pursue his own plans for national reconciliation.

“The civil democratic Egyptian state is one of the most important achievements of the January 25 revolution,” said a statement from the presidency, referring to the 2011 pro-democracy protests that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

“Egypt will absolutely not permit any step backward whatever the circumstances,” it added.

The powerful army yesterday warned that it will intervene if people’s demands were not met within 48 hours after millions took to the streets asking President Morsi to quit.

“If the demands of the people are not met in this period… (the armed forces) will announce a future roadmap and measures to oversee its implementation,” said the army statement, which was read out on television.

However, the presidency said that the army declaration had not been cleared by it. It also denounced any declaration that would “deepen division” and “threaten the social peace”.

Morsi was consulting “with all national forces to secure the path of democratic change and the protection of the popular will”, the presidency said.

The army, however, in a new statement today said its motive was to find a speedy solution to the situation.
The statement, which was posted by the army on its Facebook page, said: “the creed of the Egyptian Armed Forces does not allow it to perform a coup d’etat and was issued to force politicians to find a speedy solution for the deadlock.”

“The Armed Forces is neither the ruler nor part of the political scene and will not abandon its designated role.”

Meanwhile, Salafi Nour Party assistant Secretary-General Shaaban Abdel Alim said that the first statement of the armed forces released yesterday is “ambiguous,” warning against the repercussions of a return to military rule in Egypt.

“Which demands will the army meet, those of Tahrir Square or of Rabea al-Adaweya Square?” Alim said, referring to the main protest sites of the opposition and supporters of Morsi.

“The statement is stern,” Alim said, referring to the army’s earleir announcement. “We fear the return of military rule. The deadline is not sufficient.”

Meanwhile, the founder of the Tamarod campaign Mahmoud Badr said, “We stress our salutation for the great Egyptian army and for its statement that truly proved to be the haven of the Egyptian patriotism.” Badr called on the Egyptian people to continue their protests.

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