US gave Morsi game-over call hour before ouster

US gave Morsi game-over call hour before ouster
Sun Jul 7, 2013 17:32:23

The US informed deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's team that in one hour the game would be over before he was ousted by the military.

An Arab foreign minister had called Morsi as an emissary of the United States to give him one final chance to make changes to his cabinet to end the standoff with the military, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

Senior advisors with Morsi said the minister, not named in the report, made the call several hours before the announcement of the president’s ouster by the military on Wednesday to ask for the appointment of a new prime minister and cabinet.

The new cabinet would have assumed all legislative powers and replaced Morsi’s appointed provincial governors.

Morsi’s top foreign policy adviser, Essam al-Haddad, who was with Morsi when the call came through, then left the room to call U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson to notify Washington that Morsi had refused to comply, the U.S. daily said.

Upon returning to the room, Haddad said he had called Susan Rice, Morsi’s aides said.

“Mother just told us that we will stop playing in one hour,” read a text message sent by an aide to his associate, referring to “Mother America,” the Egyptians’ sarcastic name for the Western power that has for years supported the Egyptian military with billions of dollars in aid.

Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian defense minister and the country’s top military commander, announced on Wednesday that the army had removed Morsi from power. After the TV announcement, the military said Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, had "failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people."

Morsi was the Muslim Brotherhood’s envoy in talks with the military, represented by General Sisi, following the overthrow of Egypt’s long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. Later the relationship between them developed, according to a senior Brotherhood official close to Morsi, to the level that the president “trusted him.”

In a surprise move last summer, Morsi appointed General Sisi defense minister.

Over his short-lived tenure as president, Morsi was frequently accused by the opposition groups of seeking to monopolize power. In a meeting with Haddad in Washington last December, U.S. President Barack Obama had urged the Muslim Brotherhood to include the opposition in the government, according to the Times.

Secretary of State John Kerry had even suggested naming former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei as prime minister to ease tensions with the opposition groups but Morsi had rejected the idea, the U.S. paper said.

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