Army warns over Egypt ‘disruption’

Egypt’s defence minister has warned against any attempt to disrupt the country’s “difficult” transition. His statement comes almost a week after the army deposed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and appointed top judge Adly Mansour as interim leader.

Supporters of Mr Morsi have been holding demonstrations against his ousting.

Meanwhile, Mr Mansour has been trying to shore up his position by appointing Hazem el-Beblawi as prime minister.

Mr el-Beblawi served as finance minister during the period of military rule in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow.

He told BBC Arabic that he would be choosing his ministers based on experience and efficiency, but said it was “difficult for me to specify when” he would finish forming the government.

Mr Mansour has also appointed liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei as deputy president with responsibility for foreign affairs. He has issued a temporary constitution and a timetable for transition leading to new elections early next year.

The ultra-conservative Nour party said it was still studying the nomination of Mr ElBaradei, a former head of the UN nuclear agency.

His candidacy as prime minister foundered earlier in the week when Nour objected.

The party withdrew from talks to form a new government, but reports on Tuesday suggested it was back on board.

‘Too important’

In a televised speech, Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said the “future of the nation is too important and sacred for manoeuvres or hindrance, whatever the justifications”.

He said that neither the army nor the people of Egypt would accept “the stalling or disruption” of this “difficult and complex” period.

According to the BBC’s Wyre Davies, emotions are still raw and compromise is a word many people are still not ready to use.

Egypt has been in turmoil since Mr Morsi was overthrown last week, with protesters both for and against the ousted president massing on the streets.

On Monday, at least 51 people – mostly pro-Morsi supporters from his Muslim Brotherhood movement – were killed outside the barracks where he is thought to be held.

The families of the dead have said they have been told they will only be allowed to have the bodies returned if they accept official post mortem examination reports.

At the main morgue, BBC reporters heard allegations that the army and its supporters in the media were deliberately covering up what had happened.

That is not the only problem facing the new interim administration.

The Muslim Brotherhood has rejected the interim government’s new timetable for elections, saying it is illegitimate.

Even the Tamarod protest movement – which led the anti-Morsi protests – has said it was not consulted on the election plan and has asked to see Mr Mansour to discuss the situation.

Financial aid

Mr Morsi was Egypt’s first freely elected president. His removal last Wednesday followed days of mass protests by people who accused him of becoming increasingly authoritarian, pursuing an Islamist agenda, and failing to tackle Egypt’s economic woes.

Some countries have questioned the necessity for the army to depose a democratically-elected leader.

But after initial concern, the US said on Tuesday that it was encouraged that Egypt’s interim government had “laid out a plan for the path forward” in its transition announcement.

The army’s moves were welcomed by some Gulf states, and two – the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – have made major pledges of financial help in a show of support for the new administration.

The United Arab Emirates has promised a loan of $2bn (£1.4bn) and a grant of $1bn, while Saudi Arabia has approved an aid package of $5bn.

According to the BBC’s Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher, both countries fear and distrust the Muslim Brotherhood, whose members fanned out across the Gulf as teachers and technicians decades ago to escape persecution in Egypt.

 Source: BBC