Former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a Tuesday television interview that he had determined there was no way out of the political crisis in his country three months before he ousted president Mohamed Morsi last July.
Speaking to CBC television and Egyptian channel ONTV, Sisi recalled the months leading up to the removal of Morsi, which was followed by a tough security crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
He said he was responding to the will of millions of people that took to the streets to protest against Morsi, who was accused of imposing Islamist views on Egyptians, usurping power and mismanaging the economy.
“A very senior American official came and met with me at the ministry and said to me, please what [is] your advice for us, because they say that you are aware of the reality. I told him the time is up. I have no advice for you,” said Sisi.
“But keep in mind, when I said that, it didn’t mean that is a kind of conspiracy. I swear to God. I said the time is up for the situation to move on naturally. The crisis was huge and there was no real way out of it,” he added.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has accused Sisi of masterminding a coup that ousted the country’s first freely elected leader.
Also in the interview, Sisi said he would uphold the peace treaty with Israel and would even visit the country if there was progress on the Palestinian issue and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The former military chief praised Saudi Arabia in his interview for its assistance since the overthrow of Morsi, indicating that it would be the first country he would visit if he won the elections.
Sisi, who is expected to easily win a May 26-27 presidential election, is seen by supporters as a decisive figure who can bring stability to Egypt, where street protests have helped remove two presidents in three years.
Egypt has been ruled mostly by men from the military since army officers toppled King Farouk in 1952.
Speaking to newspaper editors on Wednesday, Sisi said the country is ready to intervene to maintain security in the Arab world if the people approve it, adding that the national security of the Arab world is an integral part of Egypt’s national security, the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported.