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Egypt's Sisi Says Security Forces Are The 'Guardians' Of The People's Will

posted 18 Aug 2013, 12:13 by Mpelembe   [ updated 18 Aug 2013, 12:14 ]

Egypt's army chief says it is an honour for him to protect the will and freedom of the Egyptian people, and aims to restore the North African state to its former glory.

 CAIROEGYPT (AUGUST 18, 2013)  (NILE TV) -  Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Sunday (August 18) he would not betray the Egyptian people or 'conspire' against them, in a televised speech to military and police officers.

In his first public comments since last week's security crackdown on Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, Sisi also warned that anyone who resorts to violence would not be tolerated.

"Take notice of these words. We will not stand behind traitors and those who cause menace, and schemers, no, we don't have any of this, and I assure you of this, all of you."

Sisi added that Egyptians were free to choose their ruler.

"The will of the Egyptian people is free, their will is free, they can choose whoever they want to rule them, and we are the guardians of this will. The army and the police right now are the guardians of the will of the people with regard to choosing who their leaders will be. That's true," he said as members of the audience applauded his comments.

Egypt, the most populous Arab nation, is grappling with the worst bout of internal bloodshed in its modern history, just 30 months after President Hosni Mubarak's overthrow was hailed as heralding democratic change across a region ruled by autocrats.

Around 800 people have died, including about 79 police, in a crackdown that has earned the military rulers condemnation from major aid donor the United Statesand the European Union, but support from wealthy Arab allies led by Saudi Arabia, which fear the spread of Brotherhood ideology to the Gulf monarchies.

Addressing members of the armed forces Sisi said Egyptians were capable of building a better future.

"I said previously that Egyptians if they want to change the world, they are capable of that, and I tell the Egyptian people now that if you want to build Egypt and its future, you will and you can, and you can make it 'Egypt the mother of all nations'Egypt will be as big as the world itself, with God's will."

Brotherhood leaders accuse the military of deliberately sabotaging their time in office and plotting their demise.

In calibrated rebukes to the army, the United States has delayed delivery of four F-16 fighters and scrapped a joint military exercise, but it has not halted its 1.55 billion USD a year in aid to Egypt, mostly to finance U.S.-made arms supplies.

The EU says it will urgently review relations.