CAIRO (TheBlaze/AP) -- Egypt's powerful military on Monday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Islamist president and his opponents to reach an agreement to "meet the people's demands," or it will intervene to put forward a political road map for the country and ensure it is carried out.
The ultimatum, it said, is the president's "last chance."
The military praised the mass protests that brought out millions of Egyptians demanding President Mohammed Morsi's ouster as "glorious." It said protesters expressed their opinion "in peaceful and civilized manner," and that "it is necessary that the people get a reply ... to their calls."
Egyptian women react to the military's 48-hour ultimatum for President Mohammed Morsi and opposition leaders to reach an agreement, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 1, 2013. (Photo: AP)
The military underlined that it will "not be a party in politics or rule." But it said it has a responsibility to act because Egypt's national security is facing a "grave danger," according to the statement read on state television.
"The Armed Forces repeat its call for the people's demands to be met and give everyone 48 hours as a last chance to shoulder the burden of a historic moment for a nation that will not forgive or tolerate any party that is lax in shouldering its responsibility," it said.
Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Egypt's defense minister and the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, did not define exactly what steps the military will take, but said it will "include discussions between all political powers, specifically the youth, who were and continue to be the spark of the revolution. No one party will be excluded or marginalized."
Egyptian protesters walk past graffiti against President Mohamed Morsi on the wall of the presidential palace in Cairo on July 1, 2013. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
The Egyptian military helped usher out former leader Hosni Mubarak during the "Arab Spring" protests of 2011, and some are hoping it will do the same to Morsi.
The military's statement puts enormous pressure on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. So far, the president has vowed he will remain in his position, but the opposition has made clear they will accept nothing less than his departure and a transition to early presidential elections.
The Wall Street Journal wrote that the announcement could be "setting the stage for a possible military coup," but noted that the military emphasized that it does not intend to take power, but merely "supervise the situation."
Monday's declaration marks the second ultimatum given to Morsi and the opposition to reach an agreement. Last Sunday, Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi gave the two sides a week to reach an agreement. That ultimatum expired on Sunday, with Morsi repeating his longstanding offer for dialogue that the opposition rejected.
But the pressure has escalated considerably since last week, and Morsi may not be able to ignore another ultimatum. Millions turned out to protest over the weekend, and organizers of the protests also gave Morsi a deadline of Tuesday 5 p.m. to step down or face a campaign of civil disobedience.
NBC News has more on the story:
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