Egypt foreign minister quits,Morsi rebuffs army deadline

The Egyptian foreign minister was reported Tuesday to be the latest in the wave of high-ranking officials to quit the government

Written by New York Times | Cairo | Published: July 3, 2013 12:44 am

The Egyptian foreign minister was reported Tuesday to be the latest in the wave of high-ranking officials to quit the government following days of mass protests that have shaken President Mohammed Morsi’s hold on power,and the president denied that a 48-hour ultimatum by the country’s powerful military signaled an imminent coup.

As the nation braced for further displays of mass dissent,other state institutions also offered fresh challenges to Morsi’s rule,with a court ruling to remove a top prosecutor,Talaat Abdallah,whom Morsi appointed soon after coming to power last year.

Adding to the sense of embattlement,the official MENA news agency reported on Tuesday that Mohamed Kamel Amr,the foreign minister,had joined several other ministers who are not members of the Muslim Brotherhood in resigning from Morsi’s cabinet.

The developments came with the country in a state of tense uncertainty after the military delivered an ultimatum to the country’s first democratically elected president,hundreds of thousands of protesters renewed calls to oust him from office and the president’s Islamist allies vowed to take to the streets to stop what they called “a military coup”.

The crisis drew in President Obama who spoke to Morsi by telephone late Monday night from Tanzania,the White House press office confirmed Tuesday.

Obama told the Egyptian president that “the US is committed to the democratic process in Egypt and does not support any single party or group.” He stressed that “democracy is about more than elections,” the statement said. He also said he was deeply concerned about violence during the demonstrations,especially sexual assaults against women,the statement said.

In a sternly-worded statement issued after 1 am Tuesday,Morsi’s office said it was continuing with its plans for dialogue and reconciliation with its opponents. Noting that it was not consulted before the military made its statement,Morsi’s office asserted “some phrases have connotations that may cause confusion in the complicated national scene” and suggested it “deepens division between the people” and “may threaten the social peace no matter what the motivation.”

In Cairo,speaking to a crowd of Islamists armed with makeshift clubs and hard hats at a rally,a senior Brotherhood leader,Mohamed el-Beltagy,called on the crowd to defend Morsi’s “legitimacy” as the elected president.

Army may scrap constitution,parliament

CAIRO: Egypt’s armed forces would suspend the constitution and dissolve an Islamist-dominated parliament under a draft political roadmap to be pursued if President Mohammed Morsi and his opponents failed to reach a power-sharing agreement by Wednesday,military sources said. Reuters

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