Egypt army chief warns of 'state collapse' amid crisis

Egypt's armed forces chief has warned the current political crisis "could lead to a collapse of the state".

General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, in comments posted on the military's Facebook page, said such a collapse could "threaten future generations".

He made his statement following a large military deployment in three cities along the Suez Canal where a state of emergency has been declared.

More than 50 people have died in days of protests and violence.

Overnight, thousands of people in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez - where some of the worst unrest has been - ignored a night-time curfew imposed by President Mohammed Morsi to take to the streets.

Thousands were again on the streets of Port Said on Tuesday for the latest funerals of those killed, with mourners calling for the downfall of the president.

There were also saw continuing sporadic clashes in the capital, Cairo.

Gen Sisi's lengthy statement appears to be a veiled threat to protesters and opposition forces as well as an appeal for calm and an attempt to reassure Egyptians about the role of the military, the BBC's Yolande Knell in Cairo says.

The Egyptian army appears to be trying to make several statements at once.

Gen Sisi's remarks - originally made to students at a military academy - are a strong reminder that the armed forces remain an important political and economic player in Egypt.

The general's comments criticized the destabilizing power struggle between the different political forces. He is trying to assert the army's independence and its role as "a strong pillar of the state".

Gen Sisi served on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) while it temporarily ruled the country, and the army knows its reputation has been tainted by its time in power.

The general now seems to be defining the army's role as recognizing the right to peaceful protest while protecting key installations - namely the Suez Canal, one of Egypt's main sources of foreign revenue.

 

"The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations," Gen Sisi, who is also Egypt's defence minister, said.

He said the economic, political and social challenges facing Egypt represented "a real threat to the security of Egypt and the cohesiveness of the Egyptian state".

The military deployment along the Suez Canal was meant only to protect the key shipping route, one of Egypt's main sources of foreign revenue, and described the army as "a pillar of the state's foundations", he added.

His comments were made in an address to army cadets which were subsequently posted on the military's official Facebook page.

M.D

Islamic Unity Conference for Peaceful Solution in Syria

TEHRAN,(ST)_ In its final communiqué on Monday, the 26th International  Islamic Unity  conference  stressed the need  of concluding a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria and that  social elites and scholars to play their due role in providing  solutions to impeding  crises.

The conference called for the establishment of a good offices  committee  to play a mediation role between governments and peoples so as to bring views  together and solve the crisis peacefully.

The conferees condemned all forms of Zionist abuse against the Palestinian people and attempts to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and Judaize Jerusalem.

They hailed the struggle of the Palestinian people, stressing support for reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian factions and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and the right to return to their homeland.

The meeting also demanded the international community to prosecute and punish Israel and its criminal tools, over the crimes of war they committed against humanity.

The conference adopted recommendations emphasized that political inconformity should not use historical or doctrinal differences and that raising any sectarian or ethnic strife, only serves the enemies of the nation and should be resisted by all means.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in a speech during the closing session  said that the will of unity among Muslims would create influential magnate in the world, pointing out that Western countries want to defragment large countries and prevent Muslim countries from acquiring modern technologies.

Approximately 1300 scholars and religious figures from 103 countries participated in the deliberations conference of Islamic unity in Tehran.

The Syrian delegation was headed by the Republic's Grand Mufti Dr. Ahmad Badr Eddin Hassoun.

Among the participants were representatives for al-Iftaa house in Syria, al-Azhar University from Sudan and Tunisia and intellectuals from Pakistan and the Arab Gulf Countries.

T. Fateh

West Adopts Double Standard Policy on Terrorism Fighting- Salehi

TEHRAN, (ST) - Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has criticized the double standard policy adopted by the West regarding terrorism fighting, stressing that Western countries back terrorism in Syria and combat it in Mali.

Salehi was quoted by the Iranian media on Sunday as saying upon his arrival in Addis Ababa to take part in the 20thSummit of the African Union, that Iran is against all forms of extremism and it rejects foreign interference in states' internal affairs represented in sending armed groups to these countries.

Supporting the political option to solve the crisis in Syria, Salehi said that crises can't be resolved by force, but by uncovering and plucking its roots.

The Iranian FM noted that Tehran believes the Syrian crisis should be resolved by the participation of all the Syrians without any foreign interference.

He asked all political groups in Syria to help halt violence in order to pave the way for national dialogue between the government and the opposition.

On the West's double standard policy towards dealing with terrorism, Salehi said "terrorist groups in Syria are enjoying unlimited support by foreign countries, while at the same time these very countries are fighting terrorism in Mali."

Salehi, who stressed that terrorism is a Western product, said "the West is responsible for the existence of terrorist groups in the world causing a serious crisis facing the international community."

Regarding the spread of armed extremist groups in Africa, Salehi hoped that the Western countries will stop supporting these groups and contribute to controlling the crisis so as not to extend to other parts of the world, referring to Iran's readiness to cooperate in this connection.

Abdollahian: Iran backs every initiative aiming to restore stability to Syria

Meanwhile in Jordan, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian affirmed that Iran backs every initiative aiming to restore stability to Syria, pointing out that the foreign countries' interference in Syria's internal affairs has complicated the situation there.

Abdollahian reiterated Iran's support for the political program proposed by President Bashar Al-Assad to solve the crisis, pointing out that this program together with the Iranian initiative in this respect can be the basis of political solution.

"Western countries, the United States and some states which claim they are fighting terrorism are among the key sponsors of terrorist groups in Syria, because of their incessant support to these groups to destroy the Syrian infrastructure," Abdollahian said.

 

H. Mustafa

Clashes erupt at Port Said funerals

 Reports say at least a hundred people have been hurt, including four with bullets, after police clashed with thousands of mourners who turned out for the funerals of more than 30 victims of yesterday’s violence in Port Said in Egypt.

Saturday’s riots erupted after a Cairo court handed down death sentences to 21 Port Said football supporters on charges of instigating last year’s clashes at a football match.according to Voice of Russia.

The situation in Egypt remains tense as the country’s opposition continues to hold protest rallies against the regime. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi canceled his planned visit to Ethiopia, where he was due to take part the African Union’s summit scheduled for January 27. Also, he recalled Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil from the Swiss city of Davos, where he participated in the World Economic Forum.

Additionally, Morsi held an emergency meeting of the National Defense Council which announced the country’s right to impose a state of emergency in those districts that were hit by armed clashes. On Saturday night, unrest was reported in Cairo, Suez, Alexandria and Port Said, where dozens of people were killed and hundreds more injured.

The standoff between Morsi supporters and the opposition shows no signs of abating as Egypt’s National Salvation Front has demanded the creation of a national salvation government. Morsi, for his part, made it plain that he will only sit down for talks with Egypt’s independent politicians.

M.D

Iran: Syrian army should not be weakened

Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi  has said that Syrian Army, the vanguard of campaign against Zionist regime should not be weakened.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of meeting with Holy Qur'an reciters and memorizers from the armed forces of the Islamic states hosted by the Islamic Republic of Iran,according to IRNA.

He told reporters that the crisis in Syria should be resolved through peaceful means and national dialogue between the warring parties.

He strongly opposed to interference of aliens in the country which brought harmful consequences for the Syrian people.

The Syrian problems have roots in covert and overt interference of the Zionists, he said adding that Iran has always adopted a rational stand toward Syria.

"On deployment of Patriot missiles along Turkish border with Syria, he said the move is not useful. We believe it will create misunderstanding among countries in the region."

M.D