World News

Egypt Swears In ElBaradei as Interim Vice President

Egypt's military-backed interim leaders have sworn in prominent liberal Mohamed ElBaradei as vice president and offered the post of foreign minister to a former Egyptian ambassador to the United States.

ElBaradei took the oath of office on Sunday, in front of interim President Adly Mansour. The former head of the U.N. nuclear agency and Nobel peace laureate was a leader of a liberal opposition coalition that held mass protests two weeks ago demanding the resignation of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The Egyptian military deposed Mr. Morsi on July 3, one year into his term, in response to the protests by millions of Egyptians who accused the country's first freely-elected leader of consolidating power in Islamist hands and ruining the economy.

Military leaders immediately installed supreme court judge Mansour to take Mr. Morsi's place and form an interim government to lead Egypt until new elections aimed at restoring democratic civilian rule.

Mansour-appointed interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi continued consultations on forming a Cabinet Sunday. Former Egyptian ambassador to Washington Nabil Fahmy accepted Mr. Beblawi's offer to serve as interim foreign minister. More ministerial positions are expected to be confirmed in the coming days.



The responsibilities of ElBaradei's new office are unclear.

Egyptian army chief and Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sissi defended the military's decision to remove Mr. Morsi. In remarks published by state media on Sunday, he said the army acted on the will of the people.

Meanwhile, Egyptian prosecutors were preparing to launch a criminal investigation against Mr. Morsi and other top members of his Muslim Brotherhood movement, including its leader, Mohamed Badie.

Mr. Morsi has been held at an undisclosed location since the army removed him from power, but he has not been charged with any crime.

The public prosecutor's office said Saturday it received complaints accusing the Brotherhood leaders of inciting violence, spying and damaging the economy. It did not say who filed the complaints.

In another move Sunday, Egyptian judicial sources said the public prosecutor ordered the freezing of assets of 14 prominent Islamists, including Brotherhood supreme leader Mohamed Badie.

The Brotherhood urged its supporters to gather peacefully in Cairo on Monday for the latest in a series of mass protests by Islamists against Mr. Morsi's ouster. Thousands have been rallying for days near a mosque in northeast Cairo to demand the former president's reinstatement.

The U.S. State Department said Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will hold meetings in Cairo from Sunday to Tuesday in the first visit by a high-ranking U.S. official since Mr. Morsi's removal.

It said Burns will meet interim government officials and civil society and business leaders of Egypt, a longtime U.S. military ally. But, there was no word of any scheduled talks between Burns and the Egyptian military.

The State Department said Burns will "underscore U.S. support for the Egyptian people, an end to all violence, and a transition leading to an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government."

Washington has declined to refer to Mr. Morsi's ouster as a coup. It also has called on Egypt's interim leadership to avoid a politically-motivated crackdown on the deposed president and his supporters.

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