Cabinet named to lead Egypt
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.