Egypt’s armed forced intervened to overthrow former President Mohammed Mursi to avoid a “civil war,” army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in an interview with the Arabic daily al-Masry al-Youm published on Monday.
“The army’ move was dictated by the national interest and national security necessities and the anticipation that the country would reach a civil war within two months if the situation we were at continued,” Sisi said.
Prior to the Aug. 30 uprising, Gen. Sisi said he spoke with Mursi and asked him to present an initiative and make concessions to resolve the political deadlock.
“The truth is that i wanted to give an opportunity for former president to change his position and save his face,” Sisi said.
He said he favored a political solution to any direct military intervention.
“I stressed that there were very very serious dangers in the idea of a coup and that the appropriate and the best is to reach any change through ballot boxes and this was after several attempt for reform,” he said.
Gen. Sisi gave a week ultimatum for the political forces to reach an agreement prior to the Aug. 30 and after that he made another ultimatum, for 48 hours. When that ended without compromise, the army intervened to overthrow Mursi on July 3 and announced a political roadmap.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood rejected Mursi’s overthrow and continued to protest across the country. More than 1000 people have been killed in the events that followed as the country struggled with instability and economic woes.