Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Army chief defends ousting Morsi

An Egyptian supporter of ousted president Mohammed Morsi holds up a placard in Cairo (AP)
An Egyptian supporter of ousted president Mohammed Morsi holds up a placard in Cairo (AP)

Egypt's military chief has tried to justify his decision to remove Mohmmed Morsi from office, saying the Islamist leader had violated his popular mandate.

The comments by General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi - his first since the president was ousted nearly two weeks ago - came as the designated interim prime minister pushed ahead with talks to form a new Cabinet this week.

Reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei was sworn in as Egypt's interim vice president for international relations on Sunday.

The move reinforces the role of liberals in the new leadership who are strongly opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The US sent its second most senior diplomat in the State Department, William Burns, to Cairo to meet interim government officials as well as business leaders during a two-day visit.

He is the first high-level American official to visit since Mr Morsi was ousted.

Many in the international community fear the removal of Mr Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, will undermine Egypt's transition to democracy.

The State Department said Mr Burns would underline US support for the Egyptian people and a transition leading to an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government.

The US has called for Mr Morsi's release. Since he was forced out, he has been held at a secret location.

Gen El-Sissi said the armed forces acted to remove Mr Morsi on July 3 according to the will of the people as the country was sliding toward deeper division and more violence.

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