The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) have both welcomed Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s comments on the army’s position regarding mass protests planned for 30 June.
The NSF “appreciates the army’s commitment to stand by the people’s will, protect the country and reject the terrorisation of citizens,” it said on Sunday.
El-Sisi said he would not allow an "attack on the will of the people" and called for political reconciliation in the week before mass rallies against President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday, the anniversary of his inauguration.
"The armed forces have stayed out of political matters in the recent past, but our national and moral responsibility towards the people obliges us to prevent Egypt slipping into a dark tunnel of civil unrest and killing, sectarianism and the collapse of state institutions," El-Sisi said during a lecture at Galaa Theatre in Cairo on Sunday.
Nationwide protests are planned for 30 June to demand President Morsi's removal and fresh presidential elections. Islamist groups will hold rival rallies in support of the president who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Tensions have been mounting between supporters and opponents of President Morsi with minor clashes at a number of rallies in recent weeks.
FJP leader Saad El-Katatni praised El-Sisi’s call for dialogue and said his party was ready to start discussions with the opposition to reduce tensions.
He also stressed his appreciation for “El-Sisi’s keenness to keep the military away from politics.”
The NSF has previously expressed its opposition to military rule as an alternative to President Morsi.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), comprising 21 senior military figures led by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, ruled Egypt after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 until President Mohamed Morsi took office in June 2012.
The SCAF was criticised during its period of rule for failing to implement the demands of revolutionaries.