- NYPD disbands unit that spied on Muslims to go after ‘real bad guys’
- Donald Rumsfeld has ‘no idea’ if he paid taxes correctly
- Bradley Manning named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride parade
- Look out PayPal: Facebook working toward mobile payments system
- U.S. rebukes Iran’s U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- Stoned mom avoids jail after driving 12 miles with baby on roof
- More than 100 ‘inappropriate’ encounters between NYC school staffers, students since 2009: report
- Joe Biden to Boston bombing survivors: ‘America will never, ever stand down’
- FBI failed to throughly vet Boston bombing suspect after Russian lead, report finds
- Atlanta Braves flooded with Hank Aaron hate mail: He’s a ‘scumbag’
With new officials and Islamist crackdown, Egyptians press on
Egypt’s interim administration on Sunday pressed ahead with a military-backed “road map” to return the country to democratic rule, even as the top prosecutor continued his crackdown on senior figures in the Muslim Brotherhood.
Also Sunday, pro-reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei took office as Egypt’s interim vice president for foreign affairs, a former ambassador to the U.S. was appointed interim foreign minister and the State Department’s No. 2 diplomat arrived in Cairo for talks.
Egypt's military deposed Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s first democratically elected president, on July 3 following protests at which millions of Egyptians demanded Mr. Morsi’s resignation and early elections.
“Before the army had to propose its road map, it had previously expressed that the presidency hold a referendum [on Mr. Morsi’s continuation in office],” Gen. El-Sissi said in a meeting with top army officers Sunday afternoon, according to a report by the state-owned Al Ahram media organization.
“We had sent a message to former President Morsi through two messengers, his own prime minister [Hisham Qandil] and a respectable legal figure, recommending that he calls for a national referendum. Our request met with absolute rejection,” Gen. El-Sissi said.
Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Biblawi, meanwhile, was putting together a Cabinet, which is expected to be sworn in this week. The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, has refused to be part of the Cabinet.
Under U.S. law, the Obama administration would have to cut off more than $1 billion in annual aid if it is determined that the military’s ouster of Mr. Morsi was a coup. Administration officials have said cutting off aid would not serve U.S. interests.
Nabil Fahmy, a former Egyptian ambassador to the U.S. who was picked to be foreign minister over the weekend, said it would be a mistake to draw the conclusion that the military had conducted a coup. He described the days preceding Mr. Morsi’s ouster as “exceptional circumstances.”
“If you were to decide this was a coup, you’d be going against 33 million Egyptians who simply said this was not a coup and who actually asked the military to intervene,” Mr. Fahmy said Thursday during a briefing at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington.
“The military had two options: they could either intervene or allow for chaos and violence and then have to intervene,” he said. “I would test them not on what they did, but what they will do in the future. Rather than thinking of reducing aid or cutting aid, I would actually look at increasing positive aid as this process succeeds.”
Mr. ElBaradei, a former chief of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, led the National Salvation Front, a coalition of mostly secular groups, before taking the oath as vice president. He was picked to represent the opposition by a number of groups, including Tamarod, a predominantly youth movement that led the anti-Morsi protests.
Mr. Morsi has been kept at an undisclosed location since his ouster.
Mr. Morsi’s supporters, who have been staging a mass protest in Cairo since his ouster, say he was toppled in a coup and have called for nationwide protests Monday to demand he be reinstated.
Chief prosecutor Hisham Barakat expanded his crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood by freezing the assets of Mohammed Badei, the group’s supreme guide, and at least 13 other senior Islamist leaders.
Last week, Mr. Barakat issued arrest warrants for Mr. Badei and nine other Islamist leaders, charging them with inciting violence following Mr. Morsi’s ouster.
On Sunday, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns commenced a three-day visit to Cairo, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Egypt since Mr. Morsi was deposed. He will meet with interim officials as well as civil society and business leaders.
“In all these meetings, he will underscore U.S. support for the Egyptian people, an end to all violence, and a transition leading to an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government,” the State Department said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Amid clashes, White House nixes 'lethal' Ukraine aid
- U.S. rebukes Iran's U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- U.S. missing out on big opportunities in Africa, Liberian official says
- House follows Senate in passing bill to bar Iran's U.N. pick
- Obama admin unfairly pitting China against North Korea: diplomat
TWT Video Picks
By returning to goodness, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- Al Qaeda mocks U.S. in 'extraordinary' Yemen gathering; experts fear CIA caught flat-footed
- HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell entangled in MetLife lawsuit
- Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- Bill Clinton falls off vegan diet wagon but not vegan label
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes