Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Egypt: Morsi Rejects 48-Hour Ultimatum

Egypt's presidential office has rejected a military ultimatum for President Mohamed Morsi and opposition leaders to settle their differences in 48 hours and agree on a path forward.

A statement Monday said Morsi will stick to his plan for national reconciliation, regardless of "statements that deepen divisions between citizens."

Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi issued the ultimatum earlier Monday, after several days of massive nationwide protests and violence that have left at least 16 people dead.  El-Sissi said if no deal is reached, the military will present its own road map for Egypt's future.

Early Tuesday, Egyptian media reported that Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr submitted his resignation letter.  At least four other ministers have resigned since Sunday.

Opposition leaders have given President Morsi until 5 p.m. Cairo time on Tuesday to resign.

During a visit to Tanzania Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama said the world is watching and worried about the developments in Egypt.

"Honestly, we're all concerned about what's happening in Egypt and we've been monitoring it closely.  Our commitment to Egypt has never been around any particular individual or party.  Our commitment has been to a process," said President Obama.

Obama also urged President Morsi and the opposition to resolve their differences through dialogue.

Millions of people took to Egypt's streets on Sunday in the largest anti-government demonstrations since the 2011 revolution that swept former President Hosni Mubarak from power.

Opponents of President Morsi have been massing in Cairo's Tahrir Square, many of them urging him to resign.  His supporters have been gathering in the Nasr City section of Cairo, voicing support for the government and concerns about the possibility of strong military intervention.