Cabi­net named to lead Egypt

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

EGYPT’S prime min­is­ter­des­ig­nate has named a care­taker cabi­net to help lead the coun­try through re­forms and to­ward free elec­tions af­ter the up­ris­ing that ousted Pres­i­dent Hosni Mubarak.

The changes on Sun­day in­cluded new faces in the key for­eign, in­te­rior and jus­tice min­istries – a de­ci­sion ex­pected to be met with the ap­proval of the pro-re­form groups that led an 18-day up­ris­ing that forced Mubarak to step down on Fe­bru­ary 11.

Mean­while, a rally out­side t he I nte­rior Min­istry i n Cairo, which houses of­fices of the hated State Se­cu­rity agency, was vi­o­lently bro­ken up.

Army sol­diers fired in the air and used stun guns to dis­perse hun­dreds of pro­test­ers who wanted to storm the State Se­cu­rity of­fices.

Pro­test­ers ral­lied out­side some dozen state se­cu­rity of­fices across the nation dur­ing the week­end, fol­low­ing re­ports that agents were burn­ing and shred­ding doc­u­ments to de­stroy ev­i­dence that would in­crim­i­nate them in pos­si­ble cases of hu­man rights abuses.

Out­side the In­te­rior Min­istry on Sun­day, thugs armed with rocks, fire­bombs and ma­chetes also charged at the pro­test­ers, but it was not im­me­di­ately known who had sent them. State TV said 27 ar­rests were made at the scene.

The State Se­cu­rity agency, which em­ploys about 100,000 of Egypt’s 500,000-strong se­cu­rity forces, is blamed for t he worst hu­man r i ghts abuses against Mubarak’s op­po­nents.

Dis­man­tling the agency has been a key de­mand of the protest groups that led the up­ris­ing.

In a move clearly de­signed to re­spond to such de­mands, Prime Min­is­ter-des­ig­nate Es­sam Sharaf has named a new in­te­rior min­is­ter. Ma­jor Gen­eral Man­sour el-Es­sawy, a f ormer Cairo s ecu­rity chief, was ex­pected to re­place Mah­moud Wagdi, who has held the post for less than a month.

The In­te­rior Min­istry is in charge of the se­cu­rity forces.

El-Es­sawy, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the state news agency, pledged af­ter meet­ing Sharaf that he would work to re­store se­cu­rity and re­duce the role of the State Se­cu­rity agency.

Sharaf met with 22 other min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees, in­clud­ing Na­bil al-Arabi, ex­pected to be Egypt’s for­eign min­is­ter.

al-Arabi was Egypt’s UN rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the 1990s and served as a judge in the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice be­tween 2001 and 2006.

He was crit­i­cal of the gov­ern ment’s crack­down against the up­ris­ing and was a mem­ber of a com­mit­tee to ad­vise protest lead­ers on their re­form de­mands.

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