Egypt chief of staff says army will avoid politics

Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:39am EST
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By Raissa Kasolowsky

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Egypt's armed forces, for decades at the center of power, will avoid involvement in politics but could have a role if things became "complicated", the chief of staff said on Sunday.

It also expects rival political groups to solve disputes by dialogue, Major General Sedki Sobhi told Reuters

The military ran Egypt for six decades from the end of the colonial era and through an interim period after the overthrow of former air force chief and president Hosni Mubarak two years ago.

About 60 people have been killed since late January in protests that erupted after the second anniversary of the uprising.

Speaking to Reuters at an industry event in Abu Dhabi, said that in a week or 15 days some kind of national dialogue would take shape between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and opposition groups.

The army would not back any political party, he said.

"We are not political, we don't want to participate in the political situation because we suffered a lot because of this in the last six months," he said.

"But sometimes we can help in this problem, we can play this role if the situation became more complicated," he said without elaborating.   Continued...

Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi (2nd R) uses a pair of binoculars as he sits next to Defence Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (3rd L) and General Sedky Sobhi (R), chief of staff to Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), during his visit to the 6th armoured division of the second army, near Ismailia, some 75 miles (121 km) north of Cairo October 10, 2012. REUTERS/Egyptian Presidency/Handout