Egypt’s deposed leader Mohamed Morsi has described weekly protests supporting him as ‘useless’ and warned that the military leader who led his overthrow may also fall victim to coup if he becomes the country’s next president.
Mr Morsi’s comments to his lawyer, Selim el Awa, were published on Monday in Al-Watan, a privately owned Egyptian newspaper. This is the third short recording to be leaked from what its editors claim was a forty minute conversation on the sidelines of one of his court appearances in early February.
Since his overthrow, Mr Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has only been seen in court, cutting a defiant figure each time.
But the former president sounds fatigued on the leaked conversation.
When Mr Mr el Awa is asked by his client for news from the outside world, he says that daily street protests by Mr Morsi’s supporters routinely end in clashes. “People must sit down, talk and reach a solution,” he says. “Without reaching a solution, Dr Mohamed, there’s no point.”
Mr Morsi agrees, saying that the ongoing protests are “useless for both sides”.
Although there is growing discontent among some of the demonstrators over the wisdom of regular protests which are invariably broken up by Egypt’s security services, Morsi’s comments mark the first time it has been questioned from above.
In the months since Mr Morsi’s overthrow, his supporters have faced a brutal state-led crackdown that has left thousands dead.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been formally designated as a terrorist organisation, and ongoing violence by more radical Islamist groups has been blamed on the movement.
Egypt’s police have had legal authority since November to break up unlicensed demonstrations, like the type that helped end 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak then and Morsi’s fledgling administration.
The group’s interim president, Adly Mansour, told a state newspaper last week that there was no prospect of political reconciliation between the Brotherhood and Egypt’s new military masters.
Monday’s recording also features the former president grilling his lawyer on why the military leader who masterminded his overthrow has been promoted to the rank of field marshal.
“Is it so there will be no one more senior than [Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el Sisi] when he becomes president?” Mr Morsi asks.
The field marshal is widely expected to announce his own bid for the presidency in the coming days. If he chooses to run, he will likely win by a landslide.
In Monday’s recording, Mr Morsi expresses his astonishment that anyone would wish to take the reins of such a troubled country, and warns that “whoever leads a coup must face a coup.”
Source: The Telegraph