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Egypt’s Morsi promotes generals to ease tensions

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-12

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (pictured) promoted military commanders on Thursday in a show of support for the army amid rumours of tensions between himself and the once ruling generals.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi promoted the heads of Egypt’s air force, air defence forces and navy to the rank of Lieutenant-General on Thursday, amid recurrent media reports of strained relations between the Islamist president and the military.

The promotions came after the Egyptian press and British daily The Guardian reported that a fact-finding committee Morsi had appointed found evidence of military abuses during the 2011 revolt that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi's spokesman said in statement that the promotions were made in a meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which was in charge after Mubarak's ouster and before Morsi's election last June.

Morsi had called for the meeting "in order to calm the situation and remove tensions affecting the military as a result of a defamation campaign and attacks by some politicians," the official MENA news agency reported.

Morsi took office with his powers circumscribed by the military -- then led by Mubarak's former defence minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

Loyalties in doubt

The Islamist president -- modern Egypt's first civilian leader -- sacked Tantawi after a militant attack in August killed 16 soldiers at a border outpost, seizing on discontent within the military to purge commanders whose loyalties were in doubt, one of his aides said at the time.

Renewed tensions between Morsi and the military, now led by Colonel General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, were reported in the Egyptian press after the military called for dialogue between Morsi and his opposition following mass protests in December.

The presidency had denied the reports.

The legislature also approved a revised version of the law organising the country’s parliamentary elections on Thursday, after a court ruled an earlier version was invalid and delayed the vote.

The parliamentary elections had been scheduled to start this month, but the ruling said the law must be reviewed by the Supreme Constitutional Court before elections can be called.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-04-12

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