Top News: United States ‘Cautiously Encouraged’ by Timeline for Egypt Vote


In a press briefing on Tuesday, the United States said it was "cautiously encouraged" by a timeline proposed by Egypt’s interim rulers for elections to replace ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Washington also again walked a fine line on the issue of whether it would brand the military takeover as a "coup"—a move that under US law would force it to cut $1.5 billion in US aid.


New Egypt prime minister to start forming cabinet

Egypt’s new interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said he would start work on forming his new cabinet on Wednesday, first meeting liberal leaders Mohamed ElBaradei and Ziad Bahaa-Eldin. Beblawi told Reuters he accepted that it would be difficult to win the unanimous support of Egyptians for his new government. Speaking to al-Hayat TV, he said that he is not committed to a particular date to finalise selecting the new cabinet, and that his only commitment is to form a competent administration representing different political currents for what is arguably “the most important government in Egypt’s history.” Beblawi added that the ministers of defense, interior and foreign affairs would remain in their posts and that discussions to form the new cabinet will begin on Wednesday morning at the presidency’s headquarters. The presidency announced Beblawi will offer cabinet posts to the Muslim Brotherhood, however a spokesman for the group said on Wednesday that they will spurn the offer. Ahmed Ramy, spokesperson for the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), said that the party does not recognize the appointment of Beblawi as prime minister and Mohamed ElBaradei as vice president for foreign relations in Egypt’s interim administration. Meanwhile, Amr Khaled’s Egypt Party announced it is nominating its members for the ministries of labor, youth and tourism.  [Reuters, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic), 7/10/2013]

Presidency to unveil reconciliation initiative, constitutional amendments
Egypt’s main political players raised objections on Tuesday to a new constitutional decree highlighting challenges the military-backed transitional administration might face in reaching consensus to end the crisis and hold new elections. Interim President Adly Mansour ratified the constitutional declaration governing the transitional period late on Monday. However, vice president Mohamed ElBaradei authorized lawyer Mona Zulfiqar to present amendments to the constitutional declaration together with several political groups. The constitution amendments have not been yet reviewed by most political parties, which came as “a surprise” to April 6, Nour Party, Tamarod, the Popular Current, the coordinating Committee of the June 30 Front and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party. The Muslim Brotherhood rejected the new constitutional declaration alongside the Salafi Call, leaders in several Christian denominations, the journalist syndicate as well as Tamarod. The National Salvation Front originally rejected the constitutional declaration, but later withdrew its outright rejection of the decree. It instead intends to pass on concerns to Mansour. Mansour also promised Egypt’s youth supplementary constitutional declarations to clarify and amend the document’s most politically controversial articles, according to the April 6 Movement’s official Facebook page. The Egyptian armed forces released a statement on Tuesday hailing the new roadmap and the constitutional declaration issued by Mansour.

The Egyptian presidency announced on Tuesday that it would launch a reconciliation initiative dubbed ‘One Nation’ in the coming week, aimed at bridging the divide in Egyptian politics after former president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster last week. Meanwhile, the Salafi Nour Party also issued a statement Monday asking for the creation of a “national reconciliation commission” composed of “experts universally trusted by the Egyptian people.” The national reconciliation commission would act as a mediator between former president Mohamed Morsi and former opposition, creating a “true feeling of reconciliation.” It would also be responsible for forming a new roadmap that will be approved by all political groups and by the armed forces. [Ahram Online, Reuters, DNE, Ahram Online, Facebook (Arabic), Aswat Masriya, 7/10/20103]

Egypt says ousted President Morsi in safe place 
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry says the ousted president Mohamed Morsi is in a safe place and is being treated in a "very dignified manner." Ministry spokesman Badr Abd al-Atti told reporters on Wednesday that no charges have been leveled against Morsi. But he says "for his own safety and for the safety of the country, it is better to keep him…otherwise, consequences will be dire." In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said, "Morsi is not free to go around, but he is treated very well," also adding that Morsi is being held for "his own safety.” [AP, SIS, 7/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s free-falling Muslim Brotherhood loses zero-sum game | Ahram Online
Egypt: A crisis of semantics | Ahram Online
Egypt’s emerging leaders after Morsi’s overthrow | AP
Egypt’s crisis spurs wide debate on democracy’s hold | AP
Egypt’s timetable for transition to elections | AP
Egypt looks forward to new elections, back to week of bloodshed | Reuters
Timeline: Egypt since Morsi’s ouster | Egypt Independent
Initiative by activists to visit US, Britain for giving facts about June 30 | SIS
Mansour confirms Egypt’s dedication to freedom of press | Shorouk (Arabic)


Hisham Barakat appointed Egypt’s top prosecutor
Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour has appointed Hisham Barakat as prosecutor-general. Barakat, sixty-three, who was among three nominations given to the presidency by the Supreme Judicial Council, was sworn in by the interim president on Wednesday. Barakat had served as head of the technical office at the Cairo Appeals Court, and previously occupied a similar post at the Ismailia Appeals Court. The court’s general secretary, Mohamed Said Mahgoub, told al-Masry al-Youm that, given the suspension of Egypt’s constitution, the interim president was entitled to select a general prosecutor. Mahgoub cited Article 119 of the judicial authority law, which says that the president can issue a decree selecting a general prosecutor from among deputy presidents of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the presidents of the Cairo Appeals Court, and assistant general prosecutors. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, AMAY (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 7/10/2013]

Prosecution orders arrest of leading Brotherhood members  
Egypt’s general prosecution issued arrest warrants on Wednesday for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei and nine Islamist figures, mostly Brotherhood members, accusing them of inciting violence at the Republican Guard headquarters. Along with Badei, the prosecution ordered the arrest of Brotherhood Deputy Guide Mahmoud Ezzat; leading Brotherhood member Mohamed al-Beltagy; the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Vice Chairman Essam al-Erian; leading figure of ultraconservative al-Jama’a al-Islamiya Assem Abd al-Maged and hardline Brotherhood supporter Safwat Hegazy. In addition, arrest warrants were also issued for Wasat Party Vice Chairman Essam Sultan; al-Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Building and Development Party Vice Chairman Safwat Abd al-Ghany; Islamist activist Abd al-Rahman Ezz and a member of the Brotherhood’s consultative council, Mahmoud Hussein. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has, however, said its leaders had not been detained by midday on Wednesday after prosecutors ordered them arrested on charges of inciting violence. Spokesman Gehad al-Haddad said, in a tweet, that the announcement of charges against the Brotherhood leaders was an attempt by the authorities to break up a vigil by thousands of Brotherhood supporters demanding Morsi’s reinstatement. He also announced on Twitter that he was being “accused of high treason and conspiring to bring down the state,” but gave no further details. [Ahram Online, Reuters, AP, 7/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Imam interrogated for inciting violence against authorities | Egypt Independent
Two thirds of suspects released over Republican Guard clashes | Ahram Online
Prosecutor general suspends sentence against activist Hassan Mostafa | Egypt Independent


Egypt’s annual urban inflation up to 9.8 percent, stocks climb 3 percent

Egypt’s annual urban inflation rose to 9.8 percent in June, recording 134.8 points on Egypt’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), state statistics body CAPMAS announced on Wednesday. Urban inflation had registered 7.3 percent in the twelve months to June 2012. Politics continue to be the main driver of the Egyptian stock exchange on Tuesday, with main index the EGX30 gaining 3.26 percent to close at 5,290 points, washing away part of Monday’s heavy losses of almost 4 percent. The Egyptian pound strengthened at a central bank sale of foreign exchange on Wednesday, for the third time since the military removed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi from power one week ago. The central bank sold $38.8 million to banks, with the cut-off price at 6.9992 pounds to the dollar compared to 7.0097 pounds at Monday’s sale, the banker said. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Reuters, 6/10/2013]

UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait pledge aid package of $12bn to Egypt
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), apparently pleased with the ouster of the former President Mohamed Morsi, have approved $8 billion in aid to Egypt on Tuesday. The Saudi funds comprise a $2 billion central bank deposit, $2 billion in energy products, and $1 billion in cash, the Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf told Reuters. The UAE meanwhile offered $3 billion, including a grant of $1 billion and a $2 billion interest-free deposit in Egypt’s central bank. Kuwait says it will offer Egypt an aid package worth $4 billion. The official Kuwait News Agency quotes the minister of cabinet affairs, Mohammad al-Sabah, as saying Egypt will receive a $2 billion loan, a $1 billion grant and $1 billion worth of oil and petroleum products. Meanwhile, Egypt has continued to transfer deposits received from Qatar to fixed-term bonds, after it issued a private placement for bonds worth US$1 billion in early July, in the second deal of its kind in a little over a month. [Egypt Independent, AP, DNE, Mada Masr, EGYNews (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 7/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Q&A: Egypt economist Samir Radwan on post-Morsi economic reform | Ahram Online
Finance ministry affirms commitment to timely foreign debt payment | DNE
Egypt’s biggest gold mine production up compared to 2012 | Ahram Online
Egyptians work to bolster economy | DNE
Tourism sector on unstable ground | DNE


Rights groups condemn excess
ive force against Morsi supporters
Fifteen Egyptian human rights organizations condemned the use of excessive force by the military and security forces against supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) said, "The use of force must not exceed what required to prevent the use of violence by armed individuals." At the same time, the NGOs also strongly condemned "the ongoing incitement to violence and killing by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters as well as their incitement to participate in widespread clashes." The signatories included the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and Hisham Mubarak Law Center among others. Amnesty International also released a report on Monday calling for prompt independent investigations into the violence that erupted at the Republican Guard headquarters on Monday morning. The Acting Head of UN Women, Lakshmi Puri, called for Egyptian women’s voices to be heard without threat of violence, in statement issued on Tuesday. "Egypt’s women have been at the heart of the vibrant civil society movement that continues to press for the rights of all Egyptians," said Puri.
[Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, 7/10/2013]

Morsi supporters continue to call for his reinstatement
Supporters of Egypt’s deposed President Mohamed Morsi uphold their sit-in outside the Raba’a al-Adawiya Mosque for the thirteenth day in a row, demanding the return of "legal and constitutional legitimacy" and the abolishing of decisions that followed June 30, reported the state news agency. The National Coalition to Support Legitimacy called for mass protests Tuesday to bring justice to the protesters killed outside the Republican Guard headquarters Monday at dawn and demand Morsi’s reinstatement, dubbed “Day of the Martyr.” Thousands marched across Nasr City and Giza to protest the incident, which left more than fifty pro-Morsi protesters dead following clashes with military personnel. In Mansoura, the regional capital of Egypt’s Daqahliya governorate, thousands marched to mourn the death of student Anas Hamdan, killed in Monday’s clashes. Mourners carried banners reading, ‘martyr for legitimacy.’ A march by Morsi supporters on Sunday in the city of Minya, around 100 kilometers southwest of Cairo, resulted in the arrest of twenty-three Muslim Brotherhood members, local news network  Al-Masrawy reports. Angry Morsi supporters have threatened to commit suicide if the ousted president is not released and returned to his post. [Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, DNE, Egypt Independent, 7/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Al-Azhar criticizes Qaradawi fatwa on June 30 protests | SIS
Police funeral in Alexandria turns into anti-Brotherhood rally | Ahram Online
Zamalek Ultras protest at Supreme Court in Cairo | Ahram Online
NCHR press conference goes off course | DNE


Sinai marred by armed and cyber attacks

Two people were killed and six injured when unknown assailants attacked a security checkpoint in North Sinai late on Tuesday, state news agency MENA reported. Witnesses and security sources said a rocket-propelled grenade hit a truck at the Sadr al-Heitan checkpoint, killing Mahmoud Abd al-Ghany, a twenty-seven year-old civilian, and another person yet to be named. Three members of the security forces and three civilians were injured in the attack. The attack came shortly after another assault in the town of Rafah, when security forces and militants exchanged gunfire. Another police checkpoint was also attacked nearby, the sources added. In another incident, unknown gunmen opened fire on two security positions in the Sinai. Security sources and eyewitnesses said masked gunmen in a jeep shot at security forces close to Arish International Airport. Troops exchanged fire with them, before the assailants fled the scene. No casualties were reported. Meanwhile, an army row officer serving in the North Sinai city of al-Arish was stabbed by unknown assailants on Monday who then fled the scene. Meanwhile, a group of armed attackers shot a bus outside a peacekeeping base in the southern district of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai Monday afternoon, which was set to transport civilian workers to the al-Joura airport. Unknown assailants later fired upon an electricity production station using machine guns in southern Sheikh Zuweid on Monday afternoon. In a separate case, hackers accessed a North Sinai police telecommunications line, using it to make threats over police radio, calling on all forces to leave Sinai in order to protect their lives. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Egypt Independent, DNE. 7/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Explosive found under Giza’s al-Gamaa Bridge | DNE
Sectarian violence on the rise | Mada Masr
Egyptian Border Guards thwart infiltration attempt | DNE
Controversial video allegedly shows soldier shooting at protesters | DNE, NY Times
Remains of rocket fired from Egypt found in Eilat: Israel | Reuters
Egypt opens border gate to allow stranded Gazans to cross | DNE, Reuters


United States ‘cautiously encouraged’ by timeline for Egypt vote 

In a press briefing on Tuesday, the United States said it was "cautiously encouraged" by a timeline proposed by Egypt’s interim rulers for elections to replace ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Washington also again walked a fine line on the issue of whether it would brand the military takeover as a "coup"—a move that under US law would force it to cut $1.5 billion in US aid. "There’s an elephant in the room here," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. "It is in our national interest, the best interests of the United States and the best interests, in our view, of our goal of assisting the Egyptian people in their transition to democracy to take the time necessary to evaluate the situation before making such a determination." Meanwhile, President Barack Obama on Tuesday spoke by phone to two Middle Eastern allies—Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani—to discuss concerns about violent protests in Egypt. "The President encouraged the UAE to underscore in its engagements with Egyptians the importance of avoiding violence and taking steps to enable dialogue and reconciliation," the White House said in a statement about Obama’s call with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. "The President and Emir Tamim agreed that a political process that includes participation by all parties and groups is critical for Egypt’s stability," the White House said in a separate statement about Obama’s call with Qatar’s Emir. [AFP/Ahram Online, Reuters, AP, 7/10/2013]

Egypt summons Turkish ambassador over comments on Morsi
Egypt summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Cairo on Tuesday in protest at what it viewed as Ankara’s interference in Egyptian affairs, after Turkey described the Egyptian army’s overthrow of Mohamed Morsi as an "unacceptable coup", state news agency MENA reported. The ministry added that such calls by Turkey reflected a "misunderstanding" of the current state of affairs and amounted to "foreign interference." Turkey had been one of the few countries in the region, along with Iran, to describe the army’s removal of Morsi as a "military coup," urging Western nations to follow suit. Turkey also announced that it is ready to evacuate its citizens from Egypt if necessary. Additionally, Ihsanoglu, head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation warned Morsi in April about the situation in Egypt. [Reuters, Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), 7/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
The US & Israel: What to do on Egypt? | Ahram Online
Sudanese army denies weapon smuggling | DNE
Egyptian foreign ministry cites security tensions for limiting Syrians’ entry | Ahram Online
Palestinians denied entry into Egypt | Mada Masr
African Union panel to support peaceful transition in Egypt | DNE
Egypt’s Chambers of Commerce Federation seeks to bridge rift with African Union | DNE
UN Human Rights Office alarmed at sharp, violent escalation of Egypt’s political crisis | UN News Service, UN Press briefing

Photo: Talk Radio News Service

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