Jul 3, 2013 12:31 PM by Faye DeHoff
CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's embattled president has again stated he has no intention to step down, just before the expiry of a military ultimatum.
In a statement, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi warns that his electoral legitimacy is the only safeguard against violence and instability. He said it was a mistake to "take sides."
Morsi's statement came shortly before the expiry of a military ultimatum for him to meet the demands of millions of protesters calling for his ouster or the army will intervene to oversee its own political road map to end the crisis.
And moments ago, Egyptian officials announced a travel ban has been issued against President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood chief and deputy chief.
The Pentagon says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has spoken to the Egyptian defense minister twice in the past week, including a call he made to Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Tuesday.
Pentagon press secretary George Little is refusing to release any details about the content of the calls. He says U.S. officials at various levels of government have been very clear that America remains committed to the democratic process in Egypt and hopes the tensions there can be resolved peacefully.
The disclosure came as Egypt's military moved to tighten control of key institutions in the country, ahead of an almost certain push to oust President Mohammed Morsi from office.
Little says the Pentagon did not disclose last week's call until now because of the sensitivities of the situation.