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Egypt close to forming cabinet

By Agencies in Cairo | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-15 07:14

 Egypt close to forming cabinet

A boy waves an Egyptian flag together with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi at Rabaa Adawiya Square, where they are camping, in Cairo on Friday. Morsi supporters protested in Cairo on Friday after a week of violence in which more than 90 people were killed in the bitterly divided nation. Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

Egypt close to forming cabinet

Egypt's new prime minister planned further talks on Sunday on forming a cabinet, as prosecutors looked again at allegations of criminal wrongdoing on the part of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi and members of his Muslim Brotherhood.

Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi held talks on Saturday with candidates for ministerial posts, accompanied by Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei, and the consultation was scheduled to continue on Sunday.

A new cabinet could be unveiled by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Liberal politician ElBaradei was sworn in on Sunday as Egypt's vice-president for international relations in the interim government, official news agency MENA reported. Nabil Fahmy, a former Egyptian ambassador to the United States, accepted the post of foreign minister.

Beblawi said he expected the cabinet to be made up of 30 ministries. Their top priorities would be to restore security, ensure the flow of goods and services and prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections.

He has set a timetable for elections by early 2014.

Beblawi is working to a roadmap drafted by the military, which toppled Morsi on July 3 after large crowds took to the streets calling on him to step down.

Morsi, the first freely elected president of Egypt, has not been seen in public since then. Interim leaders say he is being held in a "safe place, for his own safety".

The public prosecutor's office said it was looking into complaints filed against Morsi and other members of the Brotherhood with a view to launching a formal investigation.

The complaints include spying, inciting violence and damaging the economy, although the prosecutor's office did not say who had made the allegations.

During his single year of turbulent rule, Morsi was accused of concentrating power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, sending the economy into freefall and failing to protect minorities.

His supporters, meanwhile, say his overthrow was an affront to democracy. The Brotherhood has refused to join an interim government and tens of thousands of supporters took to the streets on Friday to demand his reinstatement.

"There will be another mass protest on Monday," Tareq al-Morsi, a Brotherhood spokesman said on Saturday.

Protesters will also march on Monday to the Cairo headquarters of the elite Republican Guard, the scene of deadly violence seven days earlier, the spokesman said. But he insisted it would be a peaceful protest.

In the worst single incident of the recent violence, clashes outside the Republican Guard headquarters killed 53 people on July 8, most of them Morsi supporters.

The Brotherhood accuses the army of "massacring" its activists. The army says soldiers were attacked by "terrorists" and armed protesters.

AFP - Reuters-Xinhua

(China Daily 07/15/2013 page11)

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