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Amid Objections, Egypt's Interim Leaders Work on Cabinet

July 11, 2013

by Purnell Murdock

Egypt's interim Prime Minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, is weighing potential Cabinet picks Thursday, with ousted President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood rejecting any role and criticizing arrest warrants issued Wednesday for its leaders.

The country's top prosecutor ordered the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie, one of his deputies, and eight others, accusing them of inciting violence that killed 51 people Monday in Cairo.

Ahmed Aref, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, criticized the warrants, calling them "the same old police state tactics." He said the focus should be on the military's actions.

Aref said the issue is not about these icons of the Muslim Brotherhood who were ordered arrested. He said those who died in cold blood are much more important than the icons.

More protests planned

Wednesday night, supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi carried empty coffins towards the presidential palace in Cairo. They said the coffins represent the people killed since the military took over the government after ousting Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood has called for mass demonstrations on Friday.

The Brotherhood is demanding Morsi be reinstated. The movement, along with the ultra-conservative Islamist Nour Party, and other smaller parties, are critical of the transition plan laid out by the military and interim President Adly Mansour. The plan includes amending the constitution and holding new parliamentary and presidential elections.

Meanwhile, the United States says it is going ahead with a planned delivery of four F-16 fighter jets, which are due to arrive in Egypt in the coming weeks. The jets are part of a set of 20 Egypt is due to receive this year.

The U.S. government is evaluating the implications of Morsi's ouster last week. If it determines the Egyptian military carried out a coup, U.S. law requires the government to cut off more than $1 billion in aid.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday it is a complicated issue, and that it is not in the best interest of the U.S. to alter the aid program "quickly or immediately."


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