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"We will not stand by silently watching the destruction of the country and the people or the torching the nation and terrorizing the citizens," el-Sissi said in a speech aired on state television. "I am not threatening anyone. ... If the goal is to destroy the country and the people, no!"
The general said that the military didn't seek power but instead "have the honor to protect the people's will — which is much dearer (than) ruling Egypt."
El-Sissi also said Islamists must be included in the country's politics moving forward. A military timetable calls for the nation's constitution to be amended and for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in 2014.
El-Sissi's speech was an attempt to consolidate internal support in the face of international criticism. In a joint statement Sunday, the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council said it was the responsibility of the army and the interim government to end the violence, warning against the use of force. They said EU will "urgently review in the coming days its relations with Egypt" — meaning much-need financial aid could be on the line.
"We regret deeply that international efforts and proposals for building bridges and establishing an inclusive political process ... were set aside and a course of confrontation was instead pursued," the statement by Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy read.
They warned: "This path will not succeed."
Nearly two weeks of international diplomacy by the EU, U.S. and Arab nations failed to broker a peaceful end to the standoff. Lawmakers in the U.S. expressed greater discontent Sunday with Egypt — and concern about $1.3 billion in annual military aid it gives the nation.
Egypt also lost one of the few doves in the country's military-backed administration Sunday as Mohamed ElBaradei, who resigned as vice president in protest of the use of force against Morsi's supporters, flew out of Cairo to Vienna. ElBaradei declined to speak to journalists as he left Egypt, where pro-military news outlets have become increasingly hostile toward him.