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Ultimatum:Egypt army gives Mursi 48 hours to compromise?

–The Egyptian army has asked President Mohamed Morsi to resolve huge protests against his rule or face intervention within 48 hours, placing huge pressure on country’s first democratically elected leader.

The army said on Monday in a statement on state television that all those involved – including Morsi – had 48 hours to settle the situation or face intervention. The statement called on all groups – opposition and pro-Morsi alike – to end the civil unrest.

“The army gives an ultimatum of 48 hours as a last ditch chance, as the homeland and the nation cannot tolerate any party failing to live up to its responsibilities,” the statement said.

“The national security of the state is in severe danger. We are compelled by our national responsibility… to issue a road map for the future and certain measures… for the participation of all [political] factions.”

‘Huge pressure’

Al Jazeera’s chief political analyst Marwan Bishara said the statement undermined the authority of Morsi.

“For the army to give the president 48 hours warning, the army are saying who is the boss,” he said. “Morsi is no longer the same president as this morning in the eyes of those on the streets.”

He said the statement placed “huge pressure” on the president to resolve the protests, “otherwise we can expect army intervention”.

“That could be taking over the streets or taking over the government. This message is to the president. This undercuts his authority.”

The statment came hours after five of Morsi’s ministers resigned. They were the tourism minister, Hisham Zaazou; communication and IT minister Atef Helmi; the minister for legal and parliamentary affairs, Hatem Bagato; water minister Abdel Qawy Khalifa; and environment minister Khaled Abdel-Aal.

They handed in their letters of resignation together to Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, the official said.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from Cairo, said the resignations were a “soft blow” to Morsi, as the ministers were not among his key Cabinet members.

Tourism minister Zazou tried to resign last month after Morsi appointed Adel al-Khayat, a member of an Islamist party linked to a massacre of tourists in Luxor, as governor of the temple city. Khayat later quit.

The resignations came during a second day of huge demonstrations against Morsi, who completed one year in office on Sunday…

“…Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad Haddad told the BBC the roadmap referred to by Gen Sisi did not necessarily increase pressure on the president to call early presidential elections.”

Source:QC & Agencies

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