World Bulletin/News Desk
Egypt's National Security Council, the country's highest security body, has not reached a final decision on how to disperse sit-ins held by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
The body convened late Monday chaired by interim President Adly Mansour for the first time since the coup last month by the military to discuss how to deal with the ongoing sit-ins in Cairo and Giza.
The meeting was attended by Vice-President for International Relations Mohamed Al Baradei, Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, Defense Minister Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and Finance Minister Ahmed Gamal.
No official statement has been issued following the end of the meeting.
"Discussions are still underway between all government authorities on how to deal with the sit-ins," sources close to the presidency said.
"The most likely decision would be that security forces will besiege the sit-ins instead of dispersing it by force to avoid casualties," he added.
Egypt's National Security Council was established in accordance with Egypt's 2012 constitution, which was suspended by the military following Morsi's July 3 ouster.
Under the constitution, the council is comprised of the president, prime minister, the speakers of both houses of parliament, ministers of the interior, defense and foreign affairs, and intelligence chiefs, among other officials.
According to Egypt's national charter, the council is tasked with "adopting strategies for establishing security in the country; facing disasters and crises and taking necessary steps to contain them; and identifying threats to Egyptian national security, whether at home or abroad, and undertaking necessary actions to address them on both the official and popular levels."
Military expert Safwat al-Zayat told the Anadolu Agency on Monday that the National Security Council represented the country's highest authority for dealing with national security threats -- even higher than Egypt's National Defense Council, which is made up mostly of military officials.
Only the National Security Council, al-Zayat explained, has the authority to order the use of force against protesters. However, he added, the president had the right to accept or reject the council's recommendations.
Ever since Morsi's removal, pro-democracy groups have been holding daily mass demonstrations and sit-ins nationwide to demand his reinstatement.
The two largest sit-ins are in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in eastern Cairo and Nahda Square in Giza.
Earlier this month, the government mandated the Interior Ministry to take "all necessary measures" to disperse Morsi supporters, saying the sit-ins posed "a threat to national security."Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2013, 11:43