Egypt's head of armed forces sworn in as first deputy PM

Muslim Brotherhood official dismisses claims over national reconciliation as bloody clashes continue in Cairo.

July 16, 2013 19:03
1 minute read.
 Supporters of Mohamed Morsi gather at the Rabaa Adawiya square, where they are camping, in Cairo

Morsi supporters demonstrate 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

CAIRO - The head of Egypt's armed forces was sworn in on Tuesday as interim first deputy prime minister, as well as keeping his posts as minister of defense and military production.

The new interim government has been backed by General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi's army that overthrew elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on July 3. According to analysts, the new post is likely to further increase the military's influence over political decisions.

Liberal politician Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, a Christian, was sworn in as interim trade and industry minister.

A spokesman for Egypt's interim president said on Tuesday authorities expected Islamist movements to join in national reconciliation, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

"We expect most Islamic currents to participate in reconciliation ... including the Muslim Brotherhood," Ahmed Elmoslmany told reporters in Cairo.

He said the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist Nour Party had both been offered cabinet posts. Both groups have refused to participate in the government, although Nour has said it will advise interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi.

A senior figure in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said on Tuesday that talk of national reconciliation among rival parties and groups was "lies" and that el-Beblawi had not offered the movement any posts.

"We will not see national reconciliation unless it's on the basis of the ending of the military coup," Mohamed El-Beltagi, a senior figure in the Islamist movement, told reporters.

"Beblawi, or anyone from the government of the coup, did not offer us any position in the government, and if they do, we will refuse," Mohamed El-Beltagi told reporters.

Seven people were killed and more than 260 wounded when Morsi supporters clashed with the deposed president's opponents and security forces through the night as violence returned to Egypt's streets.

Two people were killed at a bridge in central Cairo where police and anti-Morsi locals clashed with some of his supporters who were blocking a route across the River Nile. Another five were killed in the Cairo district of Giza, said the head of emergency services, Mohamed Sultan.

The street battles, which raged into the early hours of Tuesday morning, were the bloodiest since more than 50 Morsi supporters were killed a week ago.

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