Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Egypt’s defense chief said the military won’t allow the state to be destroyed after violence left hundreds dead over the past week, drawing condemnation from key allies.
“We will not remain silent before the destruction of the country and the people, and the torching of the nation,” Defense Minister Abdelfatah al-Seesi said in an address tonight on state television. The military isn’t seeking power and Egyptians are free to chose their leaders, he said.
The remarks came as supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi canceled at least one of their planned marches in Cairo, citing security concerns, while other protests were due to go ahead. The marches, on the heels of days of violence unleashed with the army’s breakup of Mursi encampments, are stoking concern of further unrest.
The bloodshed is drawing international condemnation, with the European Union saying today it will “urgently review” relations with the Arab world’s most populous nation. Al-Seesi stressed there is room for everyone, including Islamists, in Egypt’s political landscape.
Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy condemned talk of cutting aid to Egypt, saying the government won’t abandon its efforts to restore order. Markets fell on the turmoil.
“We keep hearing if Egypt doesn’t do this or doesn’t do that, then aid will be stopped here or will be stopped there,” Fahmy said. “If one side is revising aid they are giving, we are revising aid we receive as well.”
Another 79 people were killed in violence across the country yesterday, the cabinet said in an e-mailed statement.
“We’re not calling for killing of the people, we’re just protecting our country and people,” al-Seesi said.
--Editors: James Amott, Michael Shanahan