Cairo - The Egyptian armed forces issued a statement on Monday denying that an earlier statement from its commander amounted to a military coup and said his aim was only to push politicians to reach consensus.
Denying any political ambitions for itself, the military said it was responding to the "pulse of the Egyptian street" in issuing an ultimatum to political leaders to unite after mass rallies on Sunday against President Mohammed Morsi.
The military issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Islamist president and his opponents to reach an agreement to "meet the people's demands" or it will intervene to put forward a political road map for the country and ensure it is carried out.
The ultimatum, it said, was a "last chance".
It described the mass protests on Sunday that brought out millions of Egyptians demanding President Mohammed Morsi's ousting as "glorious". It said protesters expressed their opinion "in peaceful and civilised manner", and that "it is necessary that the people get a reply ... to their calls".
The military underlined it will "not be a party in politics or rule." But it said it has a responsibility to act because Egypt's national security is facing a "grave danger," according to the statement, read out on state television.
"The armed forces repeat its call for the people's demands to be met and give everyone 48 hours as a last chance to shoulder the burden of a historic moment for a nation that will not forgive or tolerate any party that is lax in shouldering its responsibility," it said.