Burns Meets With Mansour & Sisi | Cabinet Sworn In

July 15, 2013 . By
Mansour and Beblawi | AP
Mansour and Beblawi | AP

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns held meetings in Egypt beginning on Monday. As the first US official to visit Egypt since the removal of former President Morsi, Burns met with interim President Mansour, General al-Sisi, and others. He stated that the US does not take sides in the internal politics of Egypt and expressed hope for elections and a “nonviolent and inclusive path forward.” Notably, the al-Nour Party and Tamarod leadership turned down invitations to meet with Burns. For their part, Senior Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) official Farid Ismail stated, “America are the ones who carried out the military coup…We do not kneel for anyone, and we do not respond to pressure from anyone.” The State Department and the Muslim Brotherhood were in contact regarding a meeting, but one never occurred, ostensibly due to logistical and security concerns.

The interim president’s full cabinet of ministers was sworn in on Monday afternoon. Headed by Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, the cabinet is mostly technocratic, and includes three women, three Copts, and no members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The identities of all ministers and their biographies were published by Al-Ahram.

Nour Party Vice President Sayed Khalifa stated disapproval of the committee responsible for amending the constitution. In the same press conference, Shabaan Abdel-Aleem, an executive board member for the Party, said that the “committee should have been elected by the people, [not] appointed by interim President Adly Mansour.”

About 1,400 members of the Muslim Brotherhood have created a petition to allow for members to express a lack of confidence in their Supreme Guide, or morshid, Mohamed Badie. According to leader Ahmed Yehia, this group, taking the name “Brotherhood without Violence,” would intend to return the organization “to the old, tolerant, non-violent way and dealing with the public as we always have, through social services.”

Similar to their earlier actions, the public prosecution ordered the arrest of seven Islamist figures, including the Freedom and Justice Party vice-president Essam El-Erian and ex-MP Mohamed El-Beltagi, for violence surrounding the ouster of Morsi. The charges are for “inciting violence, funding violent acts, and thuggery.”

A signed, but anonymously written, statement on the political transition framework surfaced on Monday. The statement was titled “To Continue the Revolution: Now and Not Tomorrow,” and called for modifications to the present path forward, such as greater inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood. Daily News Egypt reports that one signer, Gamal Eid, a lawyer with the Arabic Network for Human Rights and Information, stated that the document was “written by a group of ‘revolutionaries.’”

Thousands of pro-Morsi supporters demonstrated in Cairo, specifically in and around Ramses Square. The unrest began when the protesters blocked the 6 October Bridge, a major thoroughfare extending far across the city. Police fired tear gas on the crowd, some of whom responded by throwing rocks. Other gatherings occurred near Cairo University, in Giza. Reports indicate that two people died near the 6 October Bridge and another five died in Giza, while 261 were injured overall. 401 people had been arrested for “provoking unrest” in the violence, which began late on Monday and carried into Tuesday.