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Egypt Gets New Foreign and Interior Ministers

Egypt's former ambassador to the United Nations, Nabil A. Elaraby addresses the United Nations General Assembly, in New York (File Photo)

Egypt has appointed a new foreign minister and interior minister following demands by reformers for a purge of Cabinet officials named by ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's state news agency says Nabil Elaraby, a former judge at the International Court of Justice, has accepted the job of foreign minister. He will replace Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who has been foreign minister since 2004 and stayed in the job after the ouster last month of the longtime president.

Elaraby's appointment comes three days after Egypt's military, which has assumed temporary control of the country, named a new prime minister for the caretaker government, civil engineer Essam Sahaf, a former transportation minister.

Activists in the popular uprising that forced the resignation of President Mubarak have continued to demand the ouster of Mubarak associates from the interim government.

Elaraby had previously served as Egypt's permanent representative to the United Nations, and as director of a non-profit international organization, the Regional Cairo Centre for International Commercial Arbitration.

The new interior minister is Mansour el-Issawi. He takes over the ministry responsible for the state security police, reviled by many Egyptians for its reputation for brutality. In his acceptance statement, the new minister said he would take all necessary measures to restore confidence between citizens and the police.

The reshuffle is another step by Egypt's ruling military council to respond to popular demands as it charts a course to parliamentary and presidential elections later this year.

Last Thursday, the council appointed a former transportation minister, Essam Sharaf, as prime minister to replace Ahmed Shafiq, who was appointed by Mr. Mubarak during his last weeks in power. Sharaf, a civil engineer, has the backing of pro-democracy youth protest groups.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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