Top News: Presidency Calls on Brotherhood to Take Part in Reconciliation, Morsi Remains Detained


Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour met with the newly-formed cabinet on Tuesday evening after the ministers were sworn in. The meeting’s goal is to discuss the president’s assignments to the cabinet, the state-owned news agency MENA reported. Egypt’s new interim cabinet brings in a number of prominent figures from the country’s liberal and secular factions into top positions, particularly from the National Salvation Front, the main coalition of opponents to ousted President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. 


Beblawi cabinet finalized, key figures
Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour met with the newly-formed cabinet on Tuesday evening after the ministers were sworn in. The meeting’s goal is to discuss the president’s assignments to the cabinet, the state-owned news agency MENA reported. Egypt’s new interim cabinet brings in a number of prominent figures from the country’s liberal and secular factions into top positions, particularly from the National Salvation Front, the main coalition of opponents to ousted President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. The cabinet has three women, one of them a Christian, and two other Christians, more than any previous government. However, there were no Islamists represented. Egypt’s interim presidential media advisor Ahmed al-Muslimani said in a press conference on Tuesday that ministerial posts will not be handled as “spoils” and that all appointments will be based on competence. al-Muslimani also stressed that appointing young ministers is a priority, but said that giving the youth a chance will not overshadow the need for competent candidates. The head of Egypt’s armed forces, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, was sworn in on Tuesday as interim first deputy prime minister, as well as keeping his posts as minister of defense and military production. Former Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri was appointed on Wednesday economic adviser to interim President Adly Mansour, according to a presidential decree. The renowned eighty year-old economist has held the position of prime minister twice, for over three years in the 1990s under former president Hosni Mubarak, and for eight months during the interim period in which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) ruled the country. There have been conflicting statements about why Inas Abdel Dayem, who was reported to have been appointed minister of culture, did not take the position. Saber Arab, a professor of history at al-Azhar University was made culture minister. Egypt’s interim government sets about the mammoth task of returning the country to civilian rule and rescuing the economy on Wednesday, a process complicated by deadly protests and a political stalemate with powerful Islamist groups. Security will be a top priority for Egypt’s new interim government, according to Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim. The Muslim Brotherhood denounced as “illegitimate” a new cabinet sworn in by interim President Adly Mansour on Tuesday. “It’s an illegitimate government, an illegitimate prime minister, an illegitimate cabinet. We don’t recognize anyone in it. We don’t even recognize their authority as representatives of the government,” spokesman Gehad al-Haddad told Reuters. The National Coalition to Support legitimacy (NCSL) held a press conference Tuesday at Raba’a al-Adaweya condemning the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi as a “military coup,” demanding the removal of SCAF Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and denouncing “the police’s violent acts” against pro-Morsi protesters. [AP, Mada Masr, SIS, DNE, Egypt Independent, 7/17/2013]
Presidency calls on Brotherhood to take part in reconciliation
Ahmed al-Muslimani, media advisor to the interim president, said that there is ongoing communication between all political forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to achieve ‘national reconciliation,’ while also stressing that Morsi is being treated well. He added in a press conference on Tuesday that national reconciliation is not the same as political dialogue, where gains and concessions are given to any party that participates in the talks. He also said he expects most Islamist parties to take part in the reconciliation, including the Muslim Brotherhood. State-run MENA reported that presidential political adviser Mostafa Hegazy will announce the date of the reconciliation soon. The Muslim Brotherhood, however, rejected the call to take part in the meetings. Meanwhile, Abdel Akhir Hammad, a Jama’a al-Islamiya leader said reconciliation between Egypt’s Islamist and secular politicians is impossible unless Morsi is reinstated, but played down any suggestion that his movement might return to its violent past. [Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, SIS, Ahram Online, DNE, 7/16/2013]
Constitution committee, drafting process continues to spark controversy
The amending of a constitution and a nationwide referendum on the modifications must occur before any future elections, said the June 30 Front on Tuesday. The group warned of making the same transitional mistakes that were made in 2011 by not finalizing the constitution before elections, reiterating its commitment to the roadmap put forth by the armed forces on July 3. The statement comes after controversy was sparked by an anonymous statement which surfaced on social media Monday night demanding modifications to the framework of the current political transition. The statement, titled ‘To Continue the Revolution: Now and Not Tomorrow,’ called for the constitution to be written after the presidential elections and stressed the importance of including all political factions in the political life. Meanwhile, Sayed Khalifa, Nour party vice president, stated in a press conference on Monday that the party disapproves of the legal committee tasked with amending the constitution. Khalifa said that the committee had been previously agreed upon with defense minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb while displaying the roadmap. Shabaan Abdel Aleem, a member of Nour’s high board stated that the committee should have been elected by the people, and not appointed by interim president Adly Mansour. The Coalition of Egyptian Feminist Organizations has also called on the government to make use of the experiences of women without marginalization in a joint statement released on Tuesday. The coalition, which includes al-Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, the Cairo Centre for Development and Nazra Centre for Feminist Studies called on Mansour to ensure that the committee that will draft the new constitution has a fair representation of women. [DNE, 7/17/2013]

Also of Interest:
What’s in a president? | Mada Masr
Between January 25 and June 30 | Mada Masr
Wafd Party says Brotherhood wants civil war | Egypt Independent
Disbanded Shura Council members warn of a return to Mubarak regime | Egypt Independent
New Egypt government may promote welfare, not economic reform | Reuters
Egypt’s “road not taken” could have saved Morsi | Reuters

Morsi aides released while Morsi remains in detention

State-owned al-Ahram has reported that the authorities have released three aides of deposed president Mohamed Morsi after two weeks of detention in an Armed Forces headquarters. According to al-Ahram a Muslim Brotherhood leader said that those released were Pakinam al-Sharkawy, former presidential assistant for political issues; engineer Ayman Hedhed, who worked for Deputy Supreme Guide for the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat al-Shater, in the presidential palace, and was responsible for maintaining the security file in the presidential institution during Morsi’s time; and Abdel Meguid Mashali, who also worked for al-Shater. However, in a series of tweets, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad alleged that the news is false, adding that Pakinam Amer was not amongst those detained. Egypt Independent also reports that the South Cairo Prosecution extended the detention of Muslim Brotherhood leaders Mohamed Saad al-Katatni and Mahdi Akef for another fifteen days pending an investigation into charges of inciting the killing and attempted murder of protesters in clashes that broke out last month at the Guidance Bureau headquarters in Moqattam. Meanwhile, judicial sources have said that the Supreme State Security Prosecution on Tuesday examined complaints accusing Morsi and thirty-four Muslim Brotherhood leaders of escaping from the Wadi al-Natroun prison during the January 25 revolution, and of spying for foreign elements. The prosecutor referred the jail break case against Morsi and thirty-four other Islamist leaders to a judge to start investigations, state news agency MENA said. The prosecution requested the summoning of Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders for interrogation, which sources expected Barakat to respond to in the coming hours. The prosecutor also began an investigation into complaints accusing Muslim Brotherhood leaders of illegally siphoning off foreign funding designed for the state to pay for Morsi’s presidential campaign. [Mada Masr, DNE, Egypt Independent, Reuters, SIS, 7/17/2013]

Also of Interest:
Mubarak, sons face August trial over misuse of funds | Egypt Independent
Mubarak-linked businessman faces retrial for money laundering | Egypt Independent

Top cop to crack down on Egyptian supply system

After deposed president Mohamed Morsi’s embattled government was repeatedly criticised for slashing the state’s energy subsidies, the prospective government will face the daunting task of tackling energy subsidies without sparking public uproar. The man who will run Egypt’s Supply Ministry, managing subsidized fuel and bread that eat up a quarter of the state budget, is a policeman who has spent a career fighting rampant theft and corruption in that system. Mohamed Abu-Shadi was formerly a senior interior ministry official responsible for investigating supply crimes. He was head of the internal trade sector at the trade ministry during the Mubarak era. His biggest challenge will be ending the chronicle fuel shortages that have plagued Egypt since 2008, but have become more acute since the revolution. “My first priority is to make sure that supplies of basic commodities like wheat are within the safe limits,” Abu-Shadi said. He vowed to open a public discussion about subsidized bread that includes producers, distributors and consumers. “People have different opinions and it is something to be respected,” he said, commenting on the previous government’s liberalization of the flour distribution system. He declined to give further information. [DNE, Reuters, Ahram Online, 7/16/2013]
Economists project more UAE and Saudi investment in Egypt
Egyptian economists have predicted more investment from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, now that the political climate is ‘warm.’ They urged the government to remove all obstacles so that Arab companies can resolve their differences with the competent authorities. “We should openly work with all Arab countries, including Qatar,” said Gamal Bayoumi, secretary of the Union of Arab Investors. [Egypt Independent, 7/16/2013]

Also of Interest:
Moody’s: Gulf aid is “credit positive” | DNE
Rising instability pushes reinsurance companies to raise the price of their political violence policies | DNE

Brotherhood holds protest day as Egypt cabinet starts work

Supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi called on Wednesday for more mass demonstrations, declaring a “day of steadfastness” to protest against the formation of a new interim cabinet, which began its first day on the job. Thousands of Morsi supporters massed outside the cabinet building, after Brotherhood leader Essam al-Erian called for demonstrations in front of the cabinet, expanding their protests denouncing the country’s new government and demanding Morsi’s reinstatement. Security forces barred them from reaching the cabinet building, but protesters painted graffiti on the walls calling military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a killer and traitor. Clashes erupted among the protesters and anti-Morsi demonstrators in Tahrir square, as the march reached as far as Simon Bolivar square to protest outside the US embassy against Washington’s stance towards the July 3 ‘”military coup.” Central Security Forces separated the two groups. The pro-Morsi marches later returned to Raba’a al-Adaweya and Nahda, current strongholds of Islamist rallies against Egypt’s interim government. Meanwhile, residents living close to Raba’a al-Adaweya mosque have called on the protesters to break up their sit-in before 3 p.m. on Thursday. They demanded all side streets leading to the square be cleared, after Morsi’s supporters built up barricades and formed popular committees on the main roads. Local residents have called on authorities to secure their demands for a normal, safe life. Meanwhile, Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie denounced what he described as the use of violence by police officers against peaceful pro-Morsi protesters, saying that in contrast, the police protected peaceful demonstrations by Morsi’s opponents. [Reuters, AP, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 7/17/2013]
Rights NGOs demand investigation into sexual harassment and rape cases
More than sixty rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world have asked national and political movements in Egypt to take responsibility for the reported cases of physical violence against women and put the issue on top of their priority list. The NGOs insisted in a statement on Wednesday on their support for the demands raised by women’s rights movements in holding the authorities responsible for investigating the assaults and rape cases. They also expect the authorities to bring perpetrators to justice and provide tools to support the victims and help them recover. The statement pointed to the importance of providing medical and psychological support as well as legal and social services to the victims in accordance with the international law for human rights. [Aswat Masriya, 7/17/2013]

Also of Interest:
Human rights group launches Youth Against Terrorism campaign | DNE
Tamarod co-founder: Campaign should end | Egypt Independent

Egyptian army camp attacked with rockets in Sinai
Attacks on three army checkpoints in North Sinai’s Rafah near the border with Gaza have left six soldiers injured, but no deaths, a medical source told al-Ahram’s Arabic news website. The attack, according to a security official was carried out by rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).  The injuries were caused by shrapnel from the explosions. Loud explosions and gunfire could be heard at the camp near Rafah, the Egyptian town on the Gaza border, sources said. Egyptian intelligence officials also said a civilian was wounded in the attack. A stray bullet wounded a fifty year-old woman in the Egyptian city of Rafah. [Reuters, AP, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 7/17/2013]

Also of Interest:
Dozens injured in Daqahliya clashes, Muslim Brotherhood office blaze | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online

United States pushes for quick Egypt transition, welcomes formation of interim government
US Secretary of State John Kerry, seeking to promote a quick political transition in Egypt, will face a gathering of Arab leaders this week who have already expressed strong support for the Egyptian military and its decision to overthrow President Mohamed Morsi, The Wall Street Journal said. Spokesman Patrick Ventrell told a news briefing that the transitional period has just started and Egypt now has an interim president and the government was sworn in. He asserted the necessity of achieving a democratically elected government in a democratic and sustainable state and that Egypt achieves the fruits of the revolution, which it deserves. The United States on Tuesday denounced violence in Egypt that left seven people dead after security forces clashed with supporters of the country’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Mohamed Abul Ghar, chief of the Democratic Egyptian Party, said meetings between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and political groups and Cabinet members in Egypt represents American recognition of the latest Egyptian revolution. [SIS, AP, Egypt Independent, 7/17/2013]
EU’s Ashton visits Egypt to meet interim president, defense minister, senior Muslim Brotherhood figures
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton arrived in Egypt Tuesday to meet with interim President Adly Mansour and General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, defense minister, who has also been appointed as the first deputy prime minister, and Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei. She will be accompanied during her trip by the EU’s special representative for North Africa, Bernardino Leon and Stavros Lambrinidis, her human rights envoy. Ashton is also scheduled to meet Nabil Fahmy, the newly-appointed foreign minister, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, nongovernmental organizations and Tamarod campaign members. She is also expected to have talks with Egyptian authorities on the country’s political roadmap. Two senior figures from the Muslim Brotherhood will also meet Ashton, a Brotherhood spokesman said. Ashton will meet Amr Darrag and Mohamed Bishr, both of whom held cabinet posts in Morsi’s government, Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad said on Twitter. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, DNE, SIS, 7/17/2013]

Also of Interest:
Media accusations of meddling in Egyptian affairs worry Gaza | Egypt Independent
Algerian Foreign Ministry questions Egyptian ambassador about coup statement | Egypt Independent
The United Kingdom and United States call for inclusiveness in Egypt | DNE

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