Defense minister reiterates army's political neutrality

Defense minister reiterates army's political neutrality

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Mon, 24/12/2012 - 14:18

Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has reiterated the neutrality of the Armed Forces in political conflicts.

During a meeting on Monday, Sisi paid tribute to former army leaders who, he said, gave examples of sacrifice. He noted that the army secured the vote on Egypt’s new constitution out of a belief in their patriotic role, adding that the Egyptian army is the real guarantor of the country’s security.

The gathering was attended by Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sidqy Sobhy and other military leaders.

Sisi’s statements come amid criticism from the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, who allegedly accused army leaders of corruption during his weekly address last Thursday, which he later denied.

“As soldiers [over the past years] have been subjects to corrupt leaders, they are now in need of wise leaders and awareness,” Badie said in his address, but later clarified that he was talking about “political” rather than “military” leaders.

President Mohamed Morsy, a former Brotherhood member, had sent former Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi and former army chief Sami Anan to retirement in August, one month after assuming power, appointing Sisi and Sobhy as replacements.

Observers say Morsy had thus granted the former generals a safe exit despite activists’ calls to hold them accountable for violence during the transitional period.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm