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US pressuring Egyptian army not to back al-Sisi in presidential election
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
03/01/2014
Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convenes to consider nominating defense minister for president.
 
Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened earlier this week to discuss the possibility of nominating Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for president.

The move came despite US pressure to prevent the nomination of a military figure.

The meeting, held on Monday evening, lasted more than six hours and dealt with measures to be taken to secure this month’s constitutional referendum, a source told the Egyptian newspaper El-Watan.

The council also discussed presidential elections, which will probably take place before parliamentary elections.

It reviewed the American pressure and Sisi shared the details of his most recent phone conversation with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Sisi said he told Hagel he rejected outside intervention in the will of the Egyptian people.

The source said that the Obama administration had carried out a campaign in the past few days in which intensive contacts took place with several Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait with the goal of getting them to pressure Egypt to nominate a non-military figure for president. The Gulf states rejected the American request.

The council also looked at the possible successors to Sisi in case he ends up running for head of state.

A source told El-Watan that the military establishment is fully backing a possible Sisi candidacy for president.
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