TOP STORY: Egypt’s military gives Morsi 48-hour ultimatum
- Egypt’s military gave President Mohammed Morsi 48 hours to resolve the political crisis that emerged over the weekend, following protests by millions demanding his ouster. “If the people’s demands are not met, the military, which is forced to act according to its role and duty, will have to disclose its own future plan,” said Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Egypt’s defense minister and the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in a televised address.
- Morsi’s allies and advisors have vowed to take to the streets to stop what they call a military coup, reports the New York Times, which quotes an advisor to Morsi as saying “We understand it as a military coup. What form that will take remains to be seen.”
- Four members of Morsi’s cabinet have resigned following the protests, with the foreign minister becoming the latest to do so on Tuesday morning.
- Morsi’s office released a statement early Tuesday morning, rejecting the ultimatum issued by the army. ”The president of the republic was not consulted about the statement issued by the armed forces,” the statement said, reports The Telegraph. “The presidency sees that some of the statements in it carry meanings that could cause confusion in the complex national environment”.
- Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama called Morsi and urged him to resolve the political crisis through talks, reports Reuters. According to a White House statement, ”President Obama encouraged President Mursi to take steps to show that he is responsive to their concerns, and underscored that the current crisis can only be resolved through a political process”. Obama “told President Mursi that the United States is committed to the democratic process in Egypt and does not support any single party or group”.
China poised to get control of Gwadar Port in a month: “Pakistan and China are set to sign an operational agreement for handing over control of Gwadar Port to the latter within a month, which may deal a big blow to the United States and India who fiercely oppose Chinese presence in the region”, reports Pakistan’s Express Tribune. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to discuss the issue with his Chinese counterparts during his visit to Bejing on July 4.
Afghanistan government outraged at Pakistan’s suggestion to share power with Taliban: Reuters reports that after Pakistan floated the concept of a power-sharing arrangement between Kabul and the Taliban as part of the nascent peace talks, the Afghan government has reacted with outrage. Afghan deputy foreign minister is reported to have said, “We believe this federalism is a means for the Pakistanis to achieve what they could not achieve through their proxy (the Taliban) on the battlefield”. He added, “There are elements within the Pakistani government who have a grand design of using the peace process as a means to undermine the Afghan state and establish little fiefdoms around the country in which the Taliban – its most important strategic asset in Afghanistan – play an influential role,” he said.
Kerry calls for progress in South China Sea: US Secretary of State John Kerry, while addressing an ASEAN meeting in Brunei on Monday, said that the US was keen to see progress on a “substantive” code of conduct in the South China Sea, where maritime tensions between various counteries have recently escalated. “We have a strong interest in the manner in which the disputes of the South China Sea are addressed and in the conduct of the parties,” Kerry said. He added that “as a Pacific nation and a resident power, the United States has a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea”. China agreed on Sunday to hold talks in September with ASEAN members, in order to ease tensions in the region.