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Egyptian President Morsi Rules Out Stepping Down


Egypt's embattled president, Muhammad Morsi, says he will not step down and vowed to protect his "constitutional legitimacy" with his life.

"How can we make sure that our January 25th revolution and the achievement of its goals, and protecting legitimacy, is not stolen from us? The price of legitimacy is my life, my life. I want to take care of the people's lives," Morsi said on national television late on July 2.

Morsi admitted shortcomings in his rule but said "corruption and remnants of the old regime" were hindering progress.

Morsi promised a series of measures to reach consensus with opponents, including replacing his cabinet.

His comments come as a military ultimatum was set to expire later on July 3. The military is demanding Morsi and his opponents reach a deal by the deadline. If not, the military says it will step in and implement its own roadmap for the country's future.

According to Reuters, the military is working on plans to scrap the country's constitution and install an interim administration before holding a fresh presidential election. Opponents of Morsi have criticized the constitution, saying it was pushed through last year by Islamist lawmakers.

A military spokesman said the armed forces would not comment on the president's statement until the afternoon of July 3.

An opposition spokesman called Morsi's remarks "an open call for civil war."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called for Morsi to heed the calls of protesters.

"Democracy is about more than just elections. It's about ensuring that people can have their voices heard -- peacefully, of course, is always the goal. You saw that [President Barack Obama in his phone call on July 1] urged President Morsi to take steps to show that he is responsive to their concerns and [Secretary of State John Kerry] agrees that that is an important step for the government to take," Psaki said.

Morsi spoke as huge crowds of protesters rallied in Cairo and across the nation to demand his resignation in a third night of demonstrations.

Morsi supporters also turned out and some were involved in clashes with security forces at Cairo University.

Egypt's Health Ministry said 16 people had been killed and 200 more wounded in the clashes there.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
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