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Ambassador: There was no military coup

08 July 2013, 08:25

Washington - Egypt's ambassador to Washington said on Sunday there had not been a military coup in his country, but the army needed to step in to keep violence on the street from spiralling out of control.

Ambassador Mohamed Tawfik told ABC's This Week that Egypt's powerful military moved to oust President Mohammed Morsi last week after his response to massive street protests was to incite violence among his supporters.

Tawfik said he did not believe Egypt was in danger of losing $1.5bn it receives annually in American aid, which by law should be cut off if a country's military ousts a democratically elected leader.

"Egypt has not undergone a military coup. And it is certainly not run by the military," Tawfik said.

He said there was an interim president in place and the main focus of his discussions with US officials was about the future: restoring peace and a democratic process.

"The message has to get across to the leaders of Muslim Brotherhood: We do not need more violence in Egypt," he said.

Morsi has not acted as president for all Egyptians, said Tawfik who was himself appointed by Morsi in September.

With more than 15 million people in the streets, Morsi could have begun a dialogue with the protesters but instead incited his supporters to violence, Tawfik said. He said the military moved in after more than 20 people had been killed.

"If you start inciting your followers to violence, if you start whipping up religious fervour, if you start talking about jihad, about martyrdom, then many, many people are going to lose their lives," he said. "And that is against the law."

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement called for further protests on Sunday after dozens of people were killed and more than 1 000 wounded on Friday in clashes between his supporters, opponents and the military.

"My advice to the Muslim Brotherhood is they need to acknowledge the mistakes that they made and they need to join the process," the ambassador said. "There is no room for violence."

- Reuters


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