News / Middle East

El-Sissi to Remain as Egypt's Defense Minister, Official Source Says

FILE - An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows Egypt's army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi giving a live broadcast.
FILE - An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows Egypt's army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi giving a live broadcast.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sissi will keep his post as defense minister in a new government, an official source said on Wednesday, quashing speculation he was about to  announce a widely expected bid for the presidency.
 
Sissi is tipped to win the upcoming presidential election but has yet to announce his candidacy. He must vacate the post of defense minister in order to run. The source said he would likely keep that job until an election law is finalized.
 
“He is expected to continue in his post until all the issues regarding the election laws are resolved,” the source said.
 
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi's government resigned on Monday in a surprise move that has not been clearly explained. Many of Beblawi's ministers were reappointed on Wednesday by Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim Mahlab, the outgoing housing minister who was asked on Tuesday to form the new cabinet.
 
They included Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, a leading figure in state efforts to fight militant attacks that have soared since the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last July following mass protests against his rule.
 
Ibrahim survived an assassination attempt last September.
 
Sissi, 59, is widely seen as the most powerful figure in the army-backed administration installed after Morsi's removal.
 
He enjoys strong support among Egyptians who were glad to see the overthrow of Morsi, who was freely elected president in 2012. But to Morsi's Islamist supporters, he is the mastermind of a coup that led to a bloody state crackdown.
 
Mahlab said on Tuesday that fighting militant attacks would be a priority for his government. Shootings and bombings, mostly targeting the security forces, have become commonplace since Morsi's removal.
 
Pointing to the wider risks, an Egyptian court sentenced 26 people to death on Wednesday for plotting attacks on ships passing through the Suez Canal - a vital artery of world shipping. The defendants were tried in absentia.
 
Oil ministers also planning to stay on
 
Mahlab, a former official in deposed President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party, also reappointed Oil Minister Sherif Ismail and Planning Minister Ashraf al-Arabi.
 
There was no immediate word on who would take the ministries of finance or foreign affairs.
 
Mahlab is a civil engineer who formerly headed one of Egypt's biggest construction firms.
 
Hisham Zaazou, tourism minister in the Beblawi government, also kept his position. Tourism is one of the most important industries in Egypt but has been hammered in the last three years of turmoil.
 
Mounir Fakhri Abdel Nour, minister of trade and industry in the Beblawi government, was appointed minister of a consolidated ministry merging trade and investment.
 
Cabinet sources said at least 14 of the ministers who served in Beblawi's 36-member cabinet would stay on. Four of the ministerial posts were either canceled or merged into other portfolios.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid