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Egyptian ministers resign in wave as Army deadline nears

Published time: July 02, 2013 00:35
Edited time: July 02, 2013 13:18

Egyptian demonstrators gather outside the presidential palace in Cairo during a protest calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi on July 1, 2013.(AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

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Egyptian foreign minister Kamel Amr became the sixth minister to tender his resignation from the Morsi government on Monday. Amr follows the ministers for tourism, environment, communications and legal affairs and water utilities.

Follow RT's LIVE UPDATES on protests in Egypt 

Morsi, along with the Egyptian prime minister, met with the head of the armed forces for a second day on Tuesday, the president's office said in a statement. No details of the meeting were given. 

Egyptian troops are preparing to deploy on the streets of Cairo and other cities if necessary to prevent clashes between rival political factions, military sources told Reuters.

Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported that millions have staged demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi’s government since Sunday. Prior to Amr’s resignation, the other four ministers had stated that their move came as an act of “solidarity with the people’s demand to overthrow the regime.

Mourad Ali, a spokesman for the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party, said the government has rejected a 48-hour deadline imposed by Egypt’s army, during which time Morsi’s government is intended to reconcile with protesters and end widescale public unrest. According to a report by AlHayat TV, Ali said that the armed forces has no right to set ultimatums for the country’s government.

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi holding a meeting on national security in Cairo (AFP Photo / Egyptian Presidency)

The ultimatum calls on the Morsi government to “meet the demands of the people” by Wednesday evening or face the military’s intervention in restoring order. The statement, which was broadcast nationwide on radio and television media, the military referred to its deadline as “a final chance to shoulder the burden of a historic moment in our country.” 

Tourism minister Hisham Zazou had first offered his resignation only last month, following the appointment of Adel al-Khayat, a member of an islamist party, as governor of Luxor. That particular group has been linked to the murder of tourists in that city. Khayat later resigned his position.

Zazou, along with Communications and IT Minister Atef Helmi, Minister for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hatem Bagato, Environment Minister Khaled Abdel-Aal and Water Minister Abdel Qawy Khalifa together submitted their letters of resignation to Prime Minister Hisham Qandil. 

Egypt’s interior ministry estimated the number of protesters on Sunday to be between 14 and 17 million. The mass rallies were the culmination of frustrations over what those at the demos said was Morsi’s failure to tackle a serious economic situation as well as continuing security problems since assuming office a year ago.

In Cairo the official building of the Muslim Brotherhood was set ablaze just after crowds had stormed and looted the building. The interior ministry said that eight people had been killed in the violence on Sunday.