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Middle East and Africa

Try at least to go with dignity

As a report of the last dialogue between the then President Morsi and the Head of the Armed Forces al-Sîsî, this article of the Egyptian daily newspaper al-Watan appears implausible. The scene is established as being 2 July, ‘a few hours before Morsi gave his last speech’, after which he is said to have been arrested. But the dialogue seems to already preannounce the events of the next day, a typical feature of a post eventum reconstruction. In addition, the tone is artificial. However the propagandistic nature of this text does not make it uninteresting. Indeed, it illustrates the way in which the army wants the intervention of 3 July to be understood.

‘al-Watan’, 5 July 2013 – Ahmad ‘Abd al-‘Azîm



It was a matter of pure chance that al-Watan came to know about the exact contents of the last dialogue between the Head of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defence, General ‘Abd al-Fattâh al-Sîsî, and the deposed President, Muhammad Morsi, thanks to a screen that was present in one of the rooms of an office of the army high command.


On Tuesday 2 July I went to that army headquarters. All the officers were in a state of intense activity and were working tirelessly. I tried to get into contact with one of the heads in order to know what would happen over the next hours, but none of them was able to provide me with information. I asked insistently what was happening in the closed room and one of the officers who was present in the office, who had asked me to sit down, replied: “Don’t worry…The whole of Egypt will celebrate tomorrow. If you want to be certain about that I will make you listen to something, but you can never reveal this because the situation now is very delicate”.


The officer accompanied me to a nearby room where there were a large number of screens and audio equipment. To my surprise on one of the screens could be seen the meeting between al-Sisi and Morsi, a meeting that took place a few hours before Morsi gave his last speech. After the communiqué of the army read by al-Sisi last Wednesday [3 July 2013], I asked for permission to publish the most important passages from the dialogue between al-Sisi and Morsi. With very great difficulty al-Watan received this permission. This is the text.



Morsi: Does the army have a stance on what is happening? Will it just look on? Should it not defend legality?


Al-Sisi: What legality? The whole army is with the will of the people, and the majority of the people, according to reliable reports, does not want you,.


Morsi: I... My supporters are many in number and will not stay silent.


Al-Sisi: The army will not allow anyone to destroy the country, whatever happens.


Morsi: Well and good. And if I do not want to go?


Al-Sisi: The question is closed, you no longer have room to choose. Try at least to go with dignity and ask those who say that they are your supporters to go back to their homes, avoiding the useless shedding of blood, rather than threatening the people through them.


Morsi: This is a military coup d’état and America will not allow you to do it.


Al-Sisi: We care about the people and not about America. And given that you use these tones, I will also say something to you loud and clear. We have proof that nails you and nail many in the leadership of the government for actions injurious to Egyptian national security. The judiciary will pronounce on this and you will be tried in front of the whole of the people.


Morsi: Will you allow me at least to make some telephone calls and then decide what to do?


Sisi: That you are not allowed to do but we can allow you to make a telephone call to your home to set your family’s mind at rest.


Morsi: You mean that I have been arrested or what?


Sisi: From now on you under house arrest.


Morsi: Don’t think that the Brothers will keep quiet if I leave the government…They will put everything to fire and the sword.


Sisi: Just allow them to do something and you will see the reaction of the army. Those who want to live in an honourable way, they are welcome. The others, we will not allow them to act. We will not crush anyone, the Brothers are a part of the Egyptian people; do not try to make them join your dirty war…If you really care about them, leave government and make them go back to their homes.


Morsi: I have no intention of going; people outside Egypt are all with me and my supporters will not go.


Sisi: That is my advice.


Morsi: Well then, be careful, it is I who appointed you Minister and I can remove you.


Sisi: I took the Ministry of Defence because the whole of the army wanted that and not because it would please you, and that is something you well know. You cannot remove me because you are finished, you no longer have any legitimacy.


Morsi: Let us suppose that I agree to withdraw. Will you allow me to travel abroad? Do you promise me that you will not put me in prison?


Sisi: I can’t promise you anything, justice will speak.


Mosi: Well, if that is the way things were I will declare war against you and we will see who will win.


Sisi: The people, naturally, will be the victor.



At this point the dialogue ended with the phrase of al-Sisi: “From this moment you are under arrest”. A few hours later al-Sisi asked the army and the Republican Guard to transfer Morsi from the barracks of the Republican Guard to one of the army’s high security prisons without doing any harm to him until a fair trial on the basis of the accusations of having committed various crimes.

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