News / Middle East

Egypt Interim Leader Pledges to Protect Country from Chaos

This image pulled from video broadcast on Egyptian state TV shows interim President Adly Mansour making his first address to the nation since assuming his post after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, in Cairo, July 18, 2013.
This image pulled from video broadcast on Egyptian state TV shows interim President Adly Mansour making his first address to the nation since assuming his post after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, in Cairo, July 18, 2013.
Reuters
Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour promised on Thursday to fight those driving the nation towards chaos, hours before the Muslim Brotherhood plans mass protests to demand the return of ousted Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi.
 
Brotherhood supporters will take to the streets on Friday in their campaign to reverse the military overthrow of Egypt's first free-elected president, but the movement also gave a first sign of willingness to negotiate with its opponents.
 
Mansour pledged in his first public address since he was sworn in on July 4 to restore stability and security.
 
“We are going through a critical stage and some want us to move towards chaos and we want to move towards stability. Some want a bloody path,” he said in a televised address. “We will fight a battle for security until the end.”

The rallies aim to show Mohamed Morsi's supporters are not ready to accept the new military-backed government. However, a Brotherhood official also told Reuters on Thursday that the movement had proposed a framework for talks mediated by the European Union.

Sworn into office on Tuesday, the cabinet of interim premier Hazem el-Beblawy busied itself with tackling the nation's many woes, buying foreign wheat to replenish stocks and banking $3 billion in badly needed aid from the United Arab Emirates.

Still stunned by the July 3 toppling of Morsi, his Muslim Brotherhood, and allies grouped in what it calls the National Alliance for Legitimacy, urged nationwide rallies on Friday, predicting millions would take to the streets.

“To every free Egyptian man and woman: Come out against the bloody military coup,” the alliance said in a statement.

Brotherhood official Gehad el-Haddad, who represented the movement in previous EU-facilitated talks with other political groups, told Reuters that the organization would not retreat from its demand for the reinstatement of Morsi, Egypt's first freely-elected leader.

However, signaling for the first time a formal readiness for negotiations, he said the Brotherhood had proposed through an EU envoy a framework for talks to resolve Egypt's crisis. “We never close the door to dialogue,” Haddad said.

The EU envoy, Bernardino Leon, said the two sides remained far apart. Observers say it is hard to imagine the army letting Morsi return to power. The military has denied orchestrating a coup, saying it intervened to prevent chaos following mammoth protests on June 30 against Morsi's much-criticized, year-long rule.

Egypt, the most populous nation in the Arab world, is a strategic hinge between the Middle East and North Africa and has long been a vital U.S. ally in the region.

War worries

The African Union warned on Thursday that Egypt risked being engulfed by civil war unless its government embraced Islamists - none of whom were included in the 33-strong new cabinet.

Egypt's Nour Party, the country's second-biggest Islamist group which had initially backed a military-led roadmap to guide the country to new elections, said on Thursday the government would have to seek a way forward with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I believe that those in power need to realize that increasing pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood and playing down the emotions of their supporters will lead to extremely bad results,” Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar told Reuters TV.

Supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, shout slogans at a park in front of Cairo University, July 18, 2013.Supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, shout slogans at a park in front of Cairo University, July 18, 2013.
x
Supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, shout slogans at a park in front of Cairo University, July 18, 2013.
Supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, shout slogans at a park in front of Cairo University, July 18, 2013.
At least 99 people have died in street clashes since Morsi's downfall, more than half of them when troops fired on Islamist protesters outside a Cairo barracks on July 8.

A security source told the official Middle East News Agency that policing would be intensified at “all important and vital facilities” on Friday.

Tamarod, the movement which organized the massive anti-Morsi protests, has also called for rallies on Friday, including one close to a Cairo intersection where thousands of Brotherhood supporters have been holding a vigil for weeks.

It dubbed the rallies “the people against terrorism”, blaming Morsi followers for recent violence.

Three members of the security forces were killed overnight in attacks blamed on Islamist militants in the Sinai peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip. The militants have pledged to continue the fight until the return of Morsi, who has been held in an undisclosed location since his ouster.

Economic woes

Amongst the many accusations leveled against Morsi was mismanagement of the economy. The budget deficit has soared to about $3.2 billion a month, foreign reserves are more than 50 percent below their December 2010 levels and unemployment is more than 13 percent.

Bread has traditionally been one of Egypt's most explosive issues and an ex-minister from Morsi's government said last week that the country had less than two months' supply of imported wheat in its stocks, well below its preferred six-month supply.

Looking to narrow the shortfall, Egypt's main wheat-buying agency, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), bought 300,000 tons of wheat from global suppliers - only the second such purchase since February.

The cash-strapped government got a boost with the arrival of aid from the UAE, part of $12 billion that Gulf Arab states pledged after Morsi's removal. Saudi Arabia is due to transfer $2 billion in the coming days, Egypt's central bank said.

The funds should buy the cabinet time to try and fix Egypt's numerous problems, although analysts have warned it might also persuade officials to delay difficult decisions needed to fix the struggling economy.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs