EGYPT
image

Mohammed Mursi

Egyptian liberal Mohamed ElBaradei sworn in as vice-president

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 July, 2013, 12:43pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 July, 2013, 4:50am

Prominent liberal Egyptian leader Dr Mohamed ElBaradei was sworn in yesterday as Egypt's interim vice-president for foreign relations.

Nabil Fahmy, a former ambassador to the United States, will take the post of foreign minister in the new cabinet, which replaces ousted president Mohammed Mursi's government.

Hazem el-Beblawi, a 76-year-old liberal economist appointed interim prime minister last week, is tapping technocrats and liberals for a government to run the country under a temporary constitution until parliamentary elections in about six months. He named another liberal economist, Ahmed Galal, who has a PhD from Boston University, to the post of finance minister.

Mounting tensions between the military and the ousted president's Muslim Brotherhood are clouding efforts to cobble together a coalition ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections early next year after the ousting of Mursi on July 3.

In his first remarks since then, the army chief General Abdelfattah Said El-Sisi said the armed forces "acted at the urging of the people". He said: "No one is a guardian of the public, and no one can dictate or force path or thought that they don't accept."

The prosecutor-general's office said on Saturday that it started an investigation into Mursi and seven other Brotherhood leaders suspected of killing protesters and "collaborating with foreign parties in order to harm national interests".

Targets include Mohammed Badie, the group's top official, and Essam el-Erian, vice-chairman of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party.

Yesterday the prosecutor ordered freezing of the assets of 14 Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Badie.

The US State Department said in Washington that Under Secretary of State Bill Burns would visit Egypt this week.

Asked about the announcement of criminal investigations against Mursi and others, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: "I can't speak to the specifics of this investigation, but ... we have made clear the need to follow due process, respect the rule of law, and avoid politicised arrests and investigations."

A senior army official said the authorities were allowing the Brotherhood figures to remain at large in part so that they could monitor their activities and collect evidence against them to ensure that any case was watertight.

"We will leave them to do their talking and protests and we are sure at the end everything will be resolved smoothly and legally," the official said.

Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said the charges were absurd and that it was the authorities themselves who were responsible for inciting violence.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse