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Egyptian PM to Offer Cabinet Posts to Islamists

  • VOA News

Egypt's newly appointed interim prime minister Hazem el-Biblawi begins work Wednesday forming his Cabinet, which state-run media say includes plans to offer posts to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist Nour Party.

Interim leaders are moving ahead on a fast-track political transition for Egypt that includes steps to amend the country's constitution and hold new parliamentary and presidential elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Nour Party are part of a broad set of groups criticizing the transition plan, which interim President Adly Mansour laid out days after the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

The main liberal group, the National Salvation Front, said Wednesday it was not consulted on the plan and disagreed with certain elements. The Tamarud youth movement also says it was not consulted, and both groups plan to propose changes to the road map.

The Muslim Brotherhood objects to the formation of an interim government and demands that Mr. Morsi be reinstated. Spokesmen for the group said Wednesday they reject any offer to join the new administration.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday the United States has been in touch with the Muslim Brotherhood and is encouraging it to take part in the transition. She said any process in Egypt must be inclusive.

El-Biblawi is an economist and former Egyptian finance minister. Mansour named him interim prime minister on Tuesday, along with selecting reformist leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed ElBaradei as vice president.

Also Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia pledged to give Egypt billions of dollars in aid.

Meanwhile, the military and Muslim Brotherhood continue to blame each other for Monday's violence, which killed at least 51 people.

The Brotherhood says the army opened fire on Morsi supporters. The military says troops shot only after coming under gunfire from terrorists trying to storm a military headquarters in Cairo.

London-based Amnesty International said evidence it gathered suggests security forces have used "excessive force" against protesters. The group said protesters Monday may have used violence, but that the military's response was "disproportionate."

Joe Stork of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch tells VOA that his group is extremely concerned about what is going on in Egypt. It is calling on all sides to refrain from violence. Stork says the rights group has a team on the ground in Cairo and plans to offer a preliminary report Wednesday.

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