Egypt’s new caretaker Cabinet got down to work yesterday, faced with a raft of daunting challenges including restoring security, as the Muslim Brotherhood of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi vowed fresh demonstrations.
On the interim leaders’ agenda was a series of meetings with EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, who flew into Cairo yesterday to press the case for a swift return to democratic rule in Egypt.
The influential Brotherhood, which along with the ultra-conservative al-Nur party has refused to take part in the new administration, said it had called a new round of pro-Morsi protests in the capital later yesterday.
Ashton was to meet Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour, Interim Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi, Interim Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy and Egyptian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the general behind the popularly backed coup that overthrew Morsi on July 3.
“I am going to Egypt to reinforce our message that there must be a fully inclusive political process, taking in all groups which support democracy,” Ashton said.
Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad quickly rejected as illegitimate the 34-member Cabinet sworn in on Tuesday, in which al-Sisi was appointed first deputy prime minister and minister of defense.
“We don’t recognise its legitimacy or its authority,” he said.
Political analyst Samer Shehata said among the pressing issues for the new government are Egypt’s budget deficit, reforming the interior ministry, establishing the rule of law and restoring security in Sinai.