Egypt: ElBaradei, top clerics meeting military

Associated Press
Opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi shout slogans during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. A Defense Ministry official said army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is meeting with his top commanders, hours before the military's deadline to the president and opposition to resolve the nation's political crisis is set to expire. Arabic reads, "Leave." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's leading democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei and top Muslim and Coptic Christian clerics met Wednesday with the army chief to discuss a political road map for Egypt only hours before a military ultimatum to the Islamist president was set to expire.

The meeting signaled the military was taking concrete moves toward implementing its plan to replace President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected leader who came to office a year ago.

Morsi has vowed not to step down in the face of three days of massive street demonstrations calling for his ouster. At least 39 people have died since the protests began on Sunday.

Under a plan leaked to state media, the military would install a new interim leadership would be installed, the Islamist-backed constitution suspended and the Islamist-dominated parliament dissolved.

The military has said it will implement its plan once its two-day ultimatum to Morsi expires, between 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (1400-1600 GMT).

Opposition spokesman Khaled Dwoud announced the meeting in a live telephone interview with state television.

ElBaradei is the leader of the main opposition grouping, the National Salvation Front. He was accompanied in the meeting with army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi by Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar mosque, and Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority.

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