Egypt: Military Council Warns President Over Parliament Decision
Cairo---Egypt’s military council has said earlier court decision to dissolve parliament must be upheld, following decision by new President Mohammed Mursi to reinstate the assembly.
Egypt’s top court annulled the lower house of parliament a month ago after it found certain articles in the law on parliamentary elections invalid, setting the interim military rulers to dissolve it. On Monday the Supreme Constitutional Court rejected an order by President Mursi to reinstate the Islamist-led house saying its decision was binding and final.
"All the rulings and decisions of the Supreme Constitutional Court are final and not subject to appeal... and are binding for all state institutions," the court said in a statement.
This is the first confrontation between the military council and the president, barely a week after he was sworn in.
Earlier on Monday the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) rejected Mursi’s order saying it was confident all state institutions would respect the law and constitution. The statement came a day after the lower house was invited to convene at 2:00 pm local time on Tuesday, following the presidential order.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Mursi’s political power base, has said it will participate “in a million-man march in support of the president’s decision and reinstating parliament” on Tuesday.
His move has met a lot of objection from the opposition mostly secular parties which had slammed Muslim Brotherhood’s monopolisation of power since onset of the uprising.
Former presidential candidate Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh who seemed to agree with the presidential decision said "Respect for the popular will by restoring the elected parliament and respect for the judiciary by holding parliamentary elections is the way out of this crisis."
Head of the leftist Al-Tagammu party Rifaat al-Said, said several parties will boycott parliament sessions in protest of the president’s decision saying that “In any decent and democratic country, a president cannot disrespect the judiciary."
Presidential spokesman Yasir Ali argued that Mr Mursi had been quite legitimate in suspending the dissolution until new parliamentary elections took place within 60 days of a new constitution being ratified.
The Military council took over power after former President Hosni Mubarak was forced to end his 30-year rule following days of protests. Since the take-over, the military rulers have consolidated much power seeking to position themselves as the influence behind the presidency.
Kinshasa, DR Congo
Rebels Retreat from Strategic Town
Rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have retreated from the strategic town of Rutshuru in North Kivu Province a day after capturing it without combat from fleeing government forces.
The UN peace keeping mission in Congo, MONUSCO said the M23 fighters had pulled out of Rutshuru town and another town of Kiwanja they had seized on Sunday. Residents say the rebels abandoned their positions in the town and moved to surrounding mountains.
The group comprised mainly of Congolese Tutsis, derives its name from the March 23 2009 peace deal that ended rebellions in the province and saw them integrated into the national FARDC army, but have since earlier this year deserted their ranks over failure by the government to honour the deal.
The rebel leader Sultani Makenga said they were retreating from the minerals transit town as they waited to hear from the government on whether it was ready to negotiate their demands. It warned against the army returning to the towns saying in a statement that any attempt would be "immediately and energetically repressed."
The rebels are said to have withdrawn into their hideout in the Virunga National Park near the Rwandan border, where they have been holed up since they deserted the army.
The weekend rebel take-over of towns had expressed alarm over advance in the volatile mineral-rich North Kivu Province and would risk fragile relations with the neighbouring Rwanda, that has severally been accused of providing support to the rebels.
The U.N. Security Council on Friday condemned attacks by M23 fighters on peacekeepers in the area after an Indian soldier was killed in the attack on Bunagana town, a strategic mineral trading post at the border with Uganda.
UN forces holding small operating bases in town in the province are said to have bombarded rebel positions on Sunday with helicopter gunships in a move to halt the rebels from advancing south to Goma, country’s main eastern city.
"We've sent our attack helicopters to Rubare and Runyoni. We have already hit them there," MONUSCO spokesman Alex Essome said.
Speaking to Reuters news agency at a base near Bunagana near the Ugandan border M23 commander Col Makenga said Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s government held the key to resolving the conflict.
“If they want us to talk, we shall talk. If they want us to fight, we shall fight on. Every Congolese wants a solution to this problem, they are with us so we shall fight until the government sees the need to negotiate," he said.
Since fighting began in April, thousands have fled the region into neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, where government officials say almost 30,000 Congolese refugees have been registered in the country and there might be thousands more who are yet to be officially listed.
The eastern DR Congo conflict is said to be a spill over from the Rwandan genocide where Congolese Tutsi rebels are reportedly armed by the Rwandan government officials to fight Rwandan Hutu rebels in Congo.