Egypt's president salutes martyrs, says army will return to barracks

Randa Ali , Saturday 30 Jun 2012

After Morsi took the presidential oath before the High Constitutional Court, he headed to Cairo University for his official inaugration

President Morsi addresses audience at Cairo University for his official inauguration

Welcomed with explosive applause, Egypt's first civilian Mohamed Morsi entered Cairo University's Grand Ballroom for his official inauguration.

The ceremony started with a recital of the Quran by prominent reciter Ahmed Nea'na' followed by a speech from Farouq Sultan, head of the High Constitutional Court, after which President Morsi rose to the stage to address the audience.

The president started his speech by apologising to students of Cairo University, whose exams were postponed because of the ceremony. He also thanked the university where he received both his bachelors and masters degree.

Morsi thanked the armed forces for the crucial role they played during the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak from his 30-year reign: "The elected bodies will resume their functions and the army will return to their barracks, to their original role of protecting the borders," added Morsi. A military counci was formed and since February 2011 - when Hosni Mubarak was toppled - they have ruled Egypt. By "elected bodies" Morsi seems to insist that the parliament dissolved by a constitutional court ruling will return to their functions.

As the families of those who died during this year of revolution cheered for Morsi, holding pictures of their children, the president addressed them, saying: "It's because of the sacrifice your children made that we have all of this." Morsi promised to bring justice for the martyrs and injured, for many have neither received any benefits from the state nor have they seen their murderers given jail sentences.

Later, towards the end of the speech the families of the martyrs insisted that he repeat his commitment to see justice served.

Morsi also expressed his appreciation to the role played by judges, the armed forces and police officers for supervising and securing the elections process and ensuring its transparency.

A man very vocally interrupted the speech to shout praises for the military council and the armed forces.

"Egypt will not break away from the Arab and Islamic nation," said the president, stressing that from now on Egypt will not tolerate any violations against any of the Arab countries.

The president further confirmed his support for both the Palestinians and Syrians: "An end to the Syrian bloodshed is a must, and we will not stop until Palestinians regain their rights and lands."

Attempts by any country to intervene in Egyptian affairs will be rejected, and confirmed that Egypt will respect "international treaties and agreements," which might be an indirect reference to treaties such as the Camp David Accords.

The president reached out to both Muslims and Christians in "drawing a better future for Egypt and in fulfilling the goals of the revolution: freedom, social justice and dignity."

"It's time to look forward to a prosperous future for Egypt," said the president before leaving the podium amidst cheers.

Present at the ceremony were members of the military council, members of the dissolved parliament, party representatives, union representatives and diplomatic delegations from embassies and consulates. Figures such as  Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF); Chief of Staff Samy Anan; reform presidential hopeful, Mohamed ElBaradei; former minister of foreign affairs, Amr Moussa; scientist Ahmed Zoueil and PM Kamal El-Ganzouri of the interim government.

Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (the leading Sunni authority in the Muslim world), along with other clerics, left the ceremony because of lack of organisation.

Al-Azhar members were seated in the back, which the Imam considered disrespectful.

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