Sunday 17 December 2017

Egypt's military steps into crisis as tension rises

Richard Spencer Cairo

Egypt's military has stepped into the country's deepening crisis, demanding the opposition attend a "national dialogue" after protesters once again stormed barricades at the gates of the presidential palace. General Abdelfattah al-Sisi, who is both head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and defence minister, called on the liberal opposition to drop its boycott of talks with President Mohammed Morsi.

In a highly symbolic move, the new military-backed negotiations will take place on army property, the main armed forces sports stadium, if the opposition gives in and agrees to turn up. Mr Morsi said that he had approved the army's intervention, which comes in advance of a referendum on a draft constitution on Saturday, and that he would attend in person.

The army statement is the second in four days and, following a presidential decree at the weekend giving the military powers to police the referendum and to arrest civilians, will worsen fears that the country is heading towards military-Islamist rule. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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