Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi announced early Monday evening he would finalize his selection of ministers, and they were sworn in on Tuesday. Some of the newly appointed ministers, thirty-five in total and which so far exclude Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist figures, have already sparked controversy. 


Beblawi appoints new ministers; Cabinet sworn in on Tuesday 
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi announced early Monday evening he would finalize his selection of ministers, and they were sworn in on Tuesday. Some of the newly appointed ministers, thirty-five in total and which so far exclude Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist figures, have already sparked controversy. Kamal Abu Eita, candidate for the ministry of manpower has been a point of controversy however several trade unions announced their support of Abu Eita as minister. Abu Eita announced that he is accepting the position in order to help accomplish the goals of the revolution of ‘bread, freedom, and social justice.’ Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was also sworn in as minister of defense and deputy prime minister. Inas Abdel Dayem, the former head of the Cairo Opera House who was dismissed last May under ex-president Morsi, has been chosen for minister of culture in Egypt’s new interim government. She confirmed her acceptance of the position, but later withdrew it, with no reason given. Saber al-Arab, former Culture minister, will be reinstated. Egypt’s former investment minister Osama Saleh said on Tuesday he would take up the same post in the country’s transitional government. Saleh had served as investment minister from August 2012 until May 2013 in Morsi’s government. Several judges and members of the judges club rejected the appointment of the minister of justice, Mohamed Amin al-Mahdy, on the basis of the judicial authority law which states that the minister of justice will be responsible for technicalities and administration regarding judges. They emphasized the need for the minister to be from among them. It has been announced also that the ministry of information will be scrapped in Egypt’s transitional period, interim President Adly Mansour’s media advisor Ahmed al-Muslimani said on Monday. It would be replaced by “an independent body for state media,” Muslimani reportedly said.

Nader Bakkar, spokesperson for the Nour Party confirmed that his party would not participate in the interim government because it believes that the cabinet should not include representatives from political parties. He said: “We want a purely technocrat government to help us during the transitional period and settle things with the economy and the Muslim Brotherhood.” The spokesperson stressed: “The most important thing now is to convince people that [the removal of Morsi] was not a military coup.” Nour officials said in a Tuesday statement the new Cabinet had repeated mistakes made under Morsi, producing a "totally biased" group of ministers. Mohamed al-Beltagy, a senior official in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said on Tuesday that el-Beblawi had not offered the movement any posts in the transitional cabinet, and that if he did, the Brotherhood would reject it. [DNE, AMAY (Arabic), ONA (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), 7/16/2013]

Egypt presidency preparing for reconciliation talks, Brotherhood remains defiant
The Egyptian presidency is preparing for national reconciliation talks, the date of which will be announced soon, an advisor to interim leader Adly Mansour has said. "National reconciliation will require sincere intentions and clear goals [from all parties], or else reconciliation efforts will be useless," Ahmed al-Muslimani asserted in a press statement on Monday evening. Mohamed al-Beltagy, a senior figure in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said, however, that talk of national reconciliation among rival parties and groups was "lies." "We will not see national reconciliation unless it’s on the basis of the ending of the military coup," he said. The Professional Syndicates’ Union (PSU) also proposed an initiative for national reconciliation between the armed forces and supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi on Monday. The names of the public figures and the date of the reconciliatory dialogue are still being discussed. Meanwhile, Mansour met with Egyptian writers and intellectuals in what has been described as a series of meetings with various members of Egyptian society to hear their views on the nation’s current affairs. [Ahram Online, ReutersDNE, ONA (Arabic), 7/16/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt has fallen prey to two fascists: ex-MP | Aswat Masriya
Dissolved Shura Council releases fact finding report on Raba’a clashes | Ahram (Arabic)
June 30 Front demands constitution before elections | Aswat Masriya
Presidency: Morsi is being kept safe and treated with respect due an ex-president | AMAY (Arabic)
New presidential spokesman tobe appointed within days | Aswat Masriya


Prosecutors defend "legal" measures against Brotherhood, orders arrest of more Brotherhood figures
Egypt’s Public Prosecution has defended measures taken against the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of President Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow on July 3, claiming in a Monday statement procedures had been carried out in full accordance with the law. Prosecutors claimed procedures against senior Brotherhood leaders were aimed at uncovering the truth and determining criminal responsibility. So far Egypt’s new prosecutor general, Hisham Barakat, ordered summons for seven Muslim Brotherhood leaders to be questioned on charges of inciting violence and killing peaceful demonstrators relating to clashes at Nahda Square, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau in Moqattam and outside Republican Guard House. Leaders summoned include Essam al-Erian, Safwat Hegazy, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, Mohamed al-Beltagy, Essam Sultan, Assem Abdel Maged and Tarek al-Zomor. He also ordered the Public Funds Authority on Tuesday to investigate allegations filed against leading Muslim Brotherhood members that they received gifts from the US and Qatar, possibly worth up to $10 million, without legal ground. [Egypt Independent, Reuters, Aswat Masriya,AMAY (Arabic), 7/16/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt arrests four Islamists for cutting thief’s finger off | Aswat Masriya
Investigation begins on bus attack in Sinai | AMAY (Arabic)
SJC rejects Ahmed Suleiman’s return to Judiciary | DNE


High-powered Egypt economic team heartens investors
Egypt’s new military-backed administration has pleased investors by appointing experienced economic policy makers to a cabinet whose cohesion will be sorely tested in the coming months. Over the past few days, trained economists and technocrats have been given key ministerial posts in the government that is replacing the administration of President Mohamed Morsi, deposed nearly two weeks ago in a move that polarized Egyptian society. [Reuters, 7/15/2013]

Also of Interest:
Potential economic ministers in Egypt’s interim government | DNE
Egypt stocks up on Monday despite Islamists’ calls for protests | Ahram Online
Mona Makram Ebeid: IMF representatives reinforce the need to build a new strong economy within Egypt | DNE
Domestic debts rise an alarming 27 percent in Q3 2012/2013 | DNE
Trade deficit shrinks 25 percent in March | DNE
Stock market unaffected by Monday’s clashes | Mada Masr


Tamarod calls for demonstrations “against terror” on Friday
The Tamarod campaign called for Friday demonstrations “against terror” during their press conference on Monday. Tamarod spokesman Mahmoud Badr said: “The Egyptian army and people are currently facing a terrorist group that is trying to convince the world that what happened was a military coup.” Badr claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood is involved in the terror attacks in Sinai, adding that the “Egyptian people should firmly respond to these attacks through demonstrations against terrorism on Friday.” Badr said that these demonstrations would also “reaffirm that the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi was according to the will of the people.” [DNE, 7/15/2013]

Morsi supporters stage demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria, other cities
Supporters of Egypt’s deposed President Mohamed Morsi staged mass marches in several Egyptian governorates Monday night, following a call for protests by an Islamist alliance led by the Muslim Brotherhood–from which Morsi hails–to demand his reinstatement. Outside of Cairo, marches were reported in the cities of Alexandria, Luxor, Damanhour and Suez decrying the popularly-backed military overthrow of Morsi on July 3. A core of several thousand Morsi supporters have continued their sit-in at the Raba’a al-Adaweya mosque during Ramadan, while many are bussed in from the provinces, where Brotherhood support is strong, for short stays. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 7/16/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian rights group: Brotherhood responsible for Sinai violence | Egypt Independent
And where do the workers stand? | Mada Masr
Army embrace starts to worry some Egyptians | Reuters
Azhar scholars protest ‘coup against legitimacy’ | Mada Masr
Al-Azhar prohibits attacks on army, police after violence | Egypt Independent
Churches in Minya close for security purposes, use of video conference in lieu | AMAY (Arabic)


Seven killed in overnight clashes in Egyptian capital
Seven people were killed and more than 260 wounded when supporters of Mohamed Morsi clashed with the deposed president’s opponents and security forces through the night. A statement by the health ministry said that 137 cases have been dismissed from the local hospitals where they were admitted while 124 still require medical attention. Violence first broke out late on Monday after police forces fired teargas at pro-Morsi protesters to clear the October 6 Bridge above downtown’s Ramsis street, both of which were blocked by the demonstrations. Ahram Online’s reporter says the police used birdshot against protesters. Calm has been restored in Ramsis square and it has opened to traffic Tuesday morning. Public prosecutors have ordered an urgent investigation into Monday night’s clashes, while Egyptian authorities arrested 463 people. Investigations, according to Al Masry Al Youm, accuse Morsi supporters of allegedly attacking residents and cars in the area. Meanwhile, Egypt’s interior ministry said that it "had to use" teargas to disperse the protest on the grounds that protesters blocked traffic in the area and allegedly threw rocks at passing cars. The Egypt Current Party denounced the police’s dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-in using "tear gas and birdshot." The party’s statement continued, "The police’s role is to protect protesters regardless of their orientation, whether in favor of or opposing the ruling regime." In contrast, Tamarod denounced what it described as ”violence by Muslim Brotherhood militias.” The clashes came after thousands of Morsi’s supporters took to the streets on Monday in a new wave of protests to press for his reinstatement. [AP, Mada Masr, Reuters, Egypt Independent, DNE Photo Essay, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, AMAY (Arabic), ONA (Arabic), 7/16/2013]

Armed Forces warn against storming military facilities
The Egyptian army said on Monday it would respond with the "utmost severity and firmness and force" if protesters tried to approach or break into its bases, adding that peaceful protest is the most important gain of the two revolutions. Meanwhile, in Suez, the Commander of the Third Field Army Major General Ossama Asskar has asked Suez security forces to be vigilant and cautious, with a state of emergency announced among officers and soldiers to confront terrorist acts. With an insurgency threatening its sensitive border with Israel, Egypt’s military is also preparing to go on the offensive against Sinai militants who have escalated attacks since President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. Israel gave Egypt the go-ahead to deploy two battalions to the Sinai to tackle militants in the sensitive region where deployments are restricted by treaty, army radio reported Tuesday. Attacks in Sinai have continued with unknown gunmen firing on the Sheikh Zuweid Police Station on Tuesday. [Reuters, SIS, DNE, Ahram Online, 7/16/2013]

Also of Interest:
Army deploys at Media Production City | Egypt Independent
Nineteen rockets confiscated on their way from Suez to Cairo | AMAY (Arabic)
Border troops destroy twenty-three underground fuel tanks | Egypt Independent
Clashes return to streets of Cairo in another blow for Egypt | Reuters


United States can avoid cutting aid to Egypt in several ways
The White House has made clear it is in no hurry to cut off US aid to Egypt now, or perhaps at all, despite the military’s role in toppling President Mohamed Morsi, and it has several options to avoid doing so. Current and former officials said the administration has no appetite for terminating aid for fear of antagonizing one of Egypt’s most important institutions. Nor does it wish to do anything to increase instability in the most populous Arab nation. US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, in Cairo on a visit to meet Egypt’s interim leaders, the military and members of the business community, stressed in a briefing at the US embassy that it was up to Egyptians, and not the United States, to steer the country to civilian rule. He added that the United States will not try to impose its model of democracy on Egypt and will not take sides. A spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood criticized Burns’ visit. Brotherhood spokesperson Gehad al-Haddad said the US had failed to "stand up for principles" as they had done with ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to the Middle East this week amid rising tensions in Egypt and deteriorating conditions in Syria that threaten to put his signature effort to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on the back burner. Kerry departed Washington on Monday evening for Jordan where he will see Arab League officials to discuss developments in Egypt since the military’s ouster of Morsi. Meanwhile, in a State Department press briefing, state department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that Arab aid to Egypt is a temporary solution. Egyptian ambassador to the United Nations, Wafaa Bassim, said that Egypt is now led by an interim president and is in a transitional phase which will last from eight to nine months. She added that Egypt is not worried about US aid and that Egypt is past describing what happened. [SIS, Reuters, Ahram Online, AMAY (Arabic), 7/16/2013]

Egypt slams official Turkish comments
Egypt’s presidential media advisor Ahmed al-Muslimani said that Egypt rejects official Turkish statements, describing them as "inappropriate," adding that the Turkish administration should respect the masses who protested against Mohamed Morsi’s rule. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty also said his country is strongly dismayed by Turkish comments on the domestic situation, describing them as an “explicit intervention in Egyptian affairs.” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Morsi is the only legitimate president, while Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said Turkey still recognizes Morsi as Egypt’s president. Meanwhile, interim President Adly Mansour stressed to Turkish President Abdullah Gül Egypt’s keenness to maintain strong bilateral ties with Turkey. Gül met with Egypt’s Ambassador to Ankara Abd al-Rahman Salaheddin on Monday, where they discussed Egypt’s transitional roadmap. During the meeting Gül offered a plan that will finalize the entire political transition to elected civilian rule in eight months. [Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, DNE, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 7/16/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ashton to visit Egypt to meet with Mansour and Sisi | Ahram (Arabic)
Regulations on Syrians entering Egypt only temporary: MENA | Egypt Independent, Reuters
Fatah: Hamas channels broadcasting live from Raba’a al-Adaweya is interference in Egypt’s affairs | Egypt Independent
No set timetable for pumping Egyptian gas, says Jordanian minister | Egypt Independent
Foreign ministry plans Africa tour | DNE
UN’s Ban Ki-moon warns against ‘revenge’ and ‘retribution’ in Egypt | Ahram Online
Italian minister of foreign affairs calls on Egypt to avoid civil war, calls for participation of Brotherhood | Ahram (Arabic)

Photo: OnTV Live