EGYPT TEETERS ON BRINK OF OVERTHROW, 23 REPORTED KILLED

Fox News on July 2, 2013, reported that Egypt teetered on the brink of overthrow after a defiant Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi rejected an ultimatum issued by the military and at least 23 people were reported killed in clashes between his supporters and opponents. Excerpts below:

Defense officials have pledged to intervene if the government does not address public demands and end the political turmoil engulfing Cairo.

In a speech to the nation broadcast live, Morsi said he would not step down and would protect his “constitutional legitimacy” with his life.

The Associated Press reported that at least 23 people were killed in Cairo on July 2 and more than 200 injured, according to hospital and security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Most of the killings took place outside Cairo University located at Cairo’s twin city of Giza. The official Al-Ahram website reported that the armed forces deployed armored vehicles to the area.

The Egyptian leader has repeatedly vowed not to quit, saying that street action must not be allowed to remove an elected president. At the same time, Morsi has offered no concessions, although his opponents appear in no mood to accept anything short of his removal.

His Islamist supporters, some hardliners who belong to formerly armed militant groups, have vowed to defend him.

…a foreign ministry official said two spokesmen for Morsi — Omar Amer and Ihab Fahmy — have stepped down after nearly five months representing him. On Monday, six of his cabinet members quit.

Canada has closed its embassy in Cairo, citing security concerns.

Crowds massed Tuesday outside the Qasr el-Qobba presidential palace where Morsi has been working in recent days, in addition to filling wide avenues outside another palace, and in main squares in other cities.

Across town, Morsi’s backers were hunkered down at their own rally site.

On July 1, President Obama urged Morsi to respond to issues raised by the protesters.

The White House released a statement saying that Obama told Morsi in a telephone conversation that “the United States is committed to the democratic process in Egypt and does not support any single party or group.” The statement added that Obama “encouraged [Morsi] to take steps to show that he is responsive to [protesters’] concerns, and underscored that the current crisis can only be resolved through a political process.”

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