Tens of thousands of supporters of toppled president Mohamed Morsi have flocked to Raba’a al-Adawiya Mosque where a mass rally is being held on Friday to push for the Islamist leader to be reinstated. 


Egypt’s PM picks leftist politician as deputy, Ziad Bahaa-Eldin; Sources reveal names being considered

Egypt’s interim authorities have nominated lawyer Ziad-Bahaa Eldin, who is a member of the leftist Egyptian Social Democratic Party, as deputy prime minister, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said on Friday. El-Beblawi told Al-Ahram on Thursday that he is working on a "general vision" by which new cabinet ministers are to be chosen, and is planning to consult with ministerial candidates before deciding on their relative suitability for the post. He also said he was thinking about merging certain government ministries, while adding that it was "still too early to know" whether the information ministry would be abolished. El-Beblawi will contact potential candidates next Sunday or Monday, stressing that no political party will be excluded from the process. Sources told Al-Ahram that names under consideration include Hisham Qandil’s former Minister of Interior Ahmed Gamal al-Din as deputy prime minister for security, writer Doria Sharaf al-Din as minister of information, former first deputy minister of finance Hany Dimian as minister of finance, NASA researcher Essam Mohamed Heggy as minister of scientific research, the Nour Party’s Ashraf Thabet as minister of agriculture and the Nour Party’s Khaled Alam al-Din as minister of environment (although the Nour Party has already announced it will not be fielding candidates). The source said that Amr Hasaballah and Ziad Bahaa Eldin are being considered for the ministry of international cooperation. Formerly the ministry of planning and international cooperation, there is talk of separating the two, while former minister of planning and international cooperation, Ashraf al-Araby is being considered for the latter. The source added that Dr. Amr al-Shobaki is being considered for the post of minister of higher education, while el-Beblawi is also considering merging the ministries of education and higher education. Ahmed Megahed, the former head of the General Egyptian Book Organization (GEBO), sacked by former Minister of Culture Alaa Abdel-Aziz in May, has been suggested as minister of culture. Khaled Abdel Aziz, the former head of the National Council for Youth is being considered as minister of youth, and Samir Embaby, Hussein Massoud or Hossam Kamal as minister of civil aviation. Ministers remaining in their posts include Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Atef Helmy, and the ministers of social affairs, housing and military production. The new cabinet is likely to include three women – in the ministries of health, social affairs and information. The anti-Morsi Rebel (Tamarod) campaign has also asked Egyptians to send their nominations through its official Facebook page. Meanwhile, the Wafd Party and the People’s Alliance announced they will not be fielding candidates for the interim government. [Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Online, 7/12/2013]

Brotherhood youth offer to stop violence in exchange for Morsi’s release
The Brotherhood Without Violence movement, founded by a number of young Muslim Brotherhood members, has proposed to stop violence in exchange for the release of former president Mohamed Morsi, Hazem Abu Ismail, and all brotherhood leaders. Scores of people were killed and hundreds wounded in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi after he was toppled by the armed forces. Ahmed Yehia, coordinator of the movement, called for amending the constitutional declaration issued by interim President Adly Mansour, insisting that early presidential elections be held before parliamentary elections, military trials of civilians be outlawed, conditions for the committee amending the constitution be set, and all religious channels be reopened, pledging to renounce all forms of violence in exchange. [Egypt Independent, 7/11/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s liberals pressing for democracy after coup | AP
Ministry of Health employees call for removal of Brotherhood members from ministry | AMAY (Arabic)
Orthodox Church signals objection to constitutional declaration | Egypt Independent, Ahram (Arabic)


IMF loan talks with Egypt on hold amid political changes

Negotiations between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a proposed $4.8 billion loan are currently on hold, Turkish news agency Anadolu reported on Thursday, citing Egyptian finance minister Fayad Abd al-Moneim. According to Abd al-Moneim, the IMF would have sealed the long-awaited loan to cash-strapped Egypt if sales tax laws had been ratified by the now-dissolved Shura Council. IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said the IMF was considering the implications of last week’s military coup on Egypt’s loan prospects. According to an official on the IMF file in the Ministry of International Cooperation, negotiations on the IMF file was not a top priority for ex-prime minister, Hisham Qandil. The source pressed for the formation of a new government and finalization of the IMF negotiations before the end of August. [Ahram Online, AMAY (Arabic), 7/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s GASC says unlikely to buy wheat soon | Ahram Online
EU expresses support for Egypt’s economic situation | SIS
No quick fix in sight for Egypt’s energy chaos | Reuters


Islamists hold Cairo rallies to press for Morsi’s reinstatement  

Tens of thousands of supporters of toppled president Mohamed Morsi have flocked to Raba’a al-Adawiya Mosque where a mass rally is being held on Friday to push for the Islamist leader to be reinstated. They’re chanting anti-military slogans, calling the army chief a traitor. The National Coalition to Support Legitimacy spokesperson said on the Raba’a stage that the coalition is willing to negotiate on anything but constitutional legitimacy. The state news agency correspondent reported that the demonstrators at Raba’a hung a new banner that has the colors of the Egyptian flag and says "Democracy against Coup." Marches left from different areas of Cairo towards Raba’a including Maadi and Heliopolis. In a speech at the Raba’a sit-in on Friday, Safwat al-Hegazi said that they will “stay in the square until the president returns, or will die there as martyrs.” The Brotherhood has consistently called on group members to adhere to peaceful methods of protest. The group’s opponents, however, accuse Brotherhood figures and allies of asserting that violence would persist until Morsi’s reinstatement. Hundreds of supporters of former president Morsi marched to the Korba area in Cairo where the presidential palace is located, an eyewitness said on Friday. Protests were also gathering on Friday in Beni Suef and Sharqiya. Small clashes took place between protesters at the sit-in taking place at al-Nahda square and drivers passing by on Friday. [Ahram Online, AP, Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 7/12/2013]

Egypt’s National Salvation Front calls for Friday gathering at presidential palace
The National Salvation Front (NSF), a coalition of primarily liberal and leftist political groups, called on Egyptian youth to rally on Friday at the presidential palace in Cairo for Friday afternoon prayers and a collective iftar meal, Al-Ahram reported. Similar calls have been made by the June 30 Front, the liberal Constitution Party, the leftist Egyptian Popular Current, the Rebel movement and others. [Ahram Online, 7/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt braces for more protests, prays for calm | Reuters
At Ramadan meals, Egypt weighs split in society | AP
Al-Azhar sheikh calls for national reconciliation | Shorouk (Arabic)


Attack in Sinai kills one; Military expands security operations
Egyptian security officials say suspected Islamic militants attacked a police checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula and killed an officer. The officials say the attack happened early on Friday south the city of al-Arish when militants fired an RPG at an armored car at the checkpoint, killing 40-year-old Lt. Col. Ahmed Mahmoud. The attack also wounded a policeman who was taken to hospital and was reported to be in critical condition. Meanwhile, military sources say that the Armed Forces’ security operation is expanding, and they will be cooperating with the police to tighten security in the region, as well as working in coordination with Palestinian authorities. Reports emerged that an Egyptian military helicopter mistakenly wandered into Gazan airspace on Thursday. Eyewitnesses also reported that leaflets were dropped in Sinai by military helicopters, appealing to residents to cooperate with the armed forces. Security arrested early Friday three Palestinian gunmen as they were attempting to attack pivotal establishments in Sinai. [DNE, AP, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic), Ahram (Arabic), Youm7 (Arabic), 7/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
After funeral of a policeman, families in Daqahliyah attack FJP headquarters | Youm7  (Arabic)
Unidentified assailants attack Strong Egypt headquarters in Fayoum | Ahram (Arabic)
Tightening of security around al-Nahda protest | Shorouk (Arabic)


US lawmakers may ease ‘coup’ ban on aid to Egypt, sharpens criticism of arrests

Politically motivated arrests in Egypt make it difficult to see how the country will be able to move beyond its current political crisis, a State Department spokeswoman said in a press briefing on Thursday. "The arrests we have seen over the past several days targeting specific groups are not in line with the national reconciliation that the interim government and the military say they are pursuing," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a daily briefing. Meanwhile, US lawmakers will begin to vote as soon as next week on legislation that could continue aid to Egypt even if the Obama administration determines that the ouster of elected President Mohamed Morsi was a military coup, lawmakers and aides said on Thursday. Republican Senator Rand Paul introduced a bill to halt the $1.5 billion in annual US aid to Egypt, the first such legislation since Morsi’s ouster. Two US Navy ships patrolling in the Middle East moved closer to Egypt’s Red Sea coast in recent days, the top Marine Corps general said on Thursday, in what appeared to be a precautionary move. The United States often sends Navy vessels close to countries in turmoil in case it needs to protect or evacuate US citizens or take part in humanitarian assistance. Their presence does not necessarily mean the United States is preparing to carry out military action. [AP, Reuters, 7/12/2013]

Germany calls for Morsi release in Egypt
Germany on Friday called for the release of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi amid mounting tensions between supporters and opponents over his overthrow. "All forms of political persecution would be extremely damaging for the future of Egypt. We call for an end to the restrictions on Mr. Morsi, and we also urge all political powers, in particular the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, to refrain from all forms of violence or threat of violence," a ministry spokesman said. They are also insisting that an organization such as the International Red Cross be allowed to visit the deposed leader. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Egypt to return to a path of democratic transition as quickly as possible and to ensure that all political powers were included. Ambassador Badr Abd al-Atty, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded saying that Egypt is committed to the roadmap agreed upon by the political forces and the government’s keenness to reach national consensus and reconciliation.   [Ahram Online/AFP, AP, Reuters, Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 7/12/2013]

UN chief concerned by Egypt detentions, arrest warrants

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern on Thursday about continued detentions in Egypt and arrest warrants issued for Muslim Brotherhood leaders and others after the military removed the country’s first freely elected leader last week. Ban reaffirmed that there must be no "retribution" against any party after the military coup against Morsi, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters after the telephone talks between the UN secretary general and Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr. Ban "expressed deep concern about continued detentions in Egypt and arrest warrants issued against Muslim Brotherhood leaders and others," said Nesirky. [Reuters, Ahram Online, 7/11/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt closes Rafah crossing indefinitely | AMAY (Arabic)
Tunisian Nahda Party calls for march demanding the return of Morsi | Ahram (Arabic)
Morsi’s fall in Egypt comforts Saudis, disconcerts Qatar | Reuters
Erdogan: Military coups are setting precedent and that protests is solution | Ahram (Arabic)
Russia denies receiving loan request from Egypt | Ahram (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic)
Iran confirms Egyptian people determine fate of Egypt | DNE, Shorouk (Arabic)

Photo: Al Jazeera Screenshot