Egypt reshuffle purges remains of Mubarak era

Gov't responsive to reformists' demands, replaces FM Aboul Gheit; new FM Elaraby remembered for reservations about peace with Israel.

By REUTERS
March 6, 2011 19:44
2 minute read.
Former Egyptian FM Aboul Gheit

Aboul Gheit 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

CAIRO - Egypt named new ministers of the interior, foreign affairs and justice on Sunday in a reshuffle that met many demands of reformists seeking a purge of officials chosen by ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Nabil Elaraby, a former International Court of Justice judge, was named minister of foreign affairs, replacing Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the face of Mubarak's foreign policy since 2004 and the most prominent minister to hang on this long.

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The reshuffle marks the latest reforms enacted by the ruling military council, which has appeared ever more responsive to the demands of groups that rose up against Mubarak in mass protests and swept him from power on Feb. 11.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces last week appointed a prime minister with the backing of youth protest groups to replace Ahmed Shafiq, whom Mubarak appointed to the post in his last weeks in power. The new cabinet will require the approval of the council headed by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

The council has charted a course towards parliamentary and presidential elections within six months so it can hand power back to a civilian, elected government.

Essam Sharaf, the new premier, met new ministers on Sunday. "This goes a long way in satisfying the demands of the revolutionary groups," Mustapha Kamal al-Sayyid, a political scientist told Reuters.

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Elaraby was Egypt's former permanent representative at the United Nations. He is remembered for expressing reservations about the Camp David peace treaty with Israel which he helped to negotiate, Sayyid said.

He was also a member of the independent council of "Wise Men" which formed after the eruption of the uprising against Mubarak to urge his administration to make reforms.

The military council hopes the new government will find acceptance among Egyptians and restore confidence, enabling the economy to start moving again.

Tantawi, head of the military council, kept his post as minister of defense.


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