Morsi refused referendum before ouster: Defence minister

Cairo, July 15 (IANS) Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi had refused to hold a referendum over the people's demands before mass protests began June 30, Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said.

"I sent envoys to former president Mohamed Morsi, including his prime minister and a trustworthy legal expert, with one clear message, appealing on him to invite himself voters for a referendum, but his reply was complete rejection," state news agency MENA quoted Sisi as saying.

"Egypt is at crossroads and no one can force the Egyptians to accept a specific thought or path," the minister said.

"All the armed forces' men and leaders chose to be in the service of the people and to support their free will in deciding the state's destiny."

Sisi stressed that the role of the armed forces is "to take orders from the people not to give them orders", Xinhua reported.

On July 3, Morsi was ousted by the military in response to nationwide protests that demanded his stepping down for his "poor performance" in his first year in office.

"The armed forces approached the political process because the people demanded that from the army," said Sisi.

He said people realised the military was the only side who can correct the "deviated courses".

On Morsi's policies, Sisi said the armed forces gave him advice and recommendations related to some decisions as a part of its national role but they were all declined.

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