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Egypt: PM refuses to rule out Brotherhood ministers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Egypt’s former Finance Minister Hazem el-Beblawi meets Egypt’s interim President Adli Mansour (not seen) at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo July 9, 2013. (Reuters)

Egypt's former Finance Minister Hazem el-Beblawi meets Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour (not seen) at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo July 9, 2013. (Reuters)

Egypt’s former finance minister, Hazem Al-Beblawi, meets Egypt’s interim president, Adli Mansour (not seen), at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo on July 9, 2013. (Reuters)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egypt’s prime minister said Thursday that he will not rule out posts for the Muslim Brotherhood in his cabinet, even as Egyptian security forces sought the arrest of Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.

Speaking to AFP on Thursday, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi revealed that he has yet to approach anyone to join the cabinet.

“I haven’t talked to anyone, because I want to have a clear idea of who I want to compose the government,” he said.

The newly appointed Egyptian prime minister stressed that he is not taking “political association” when choosing ministers, saying that he may appoint officials from the Freedom and Justice party—the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood—if they are qualified for the post.

“I’m taking two criteria for the next government: efficiency and credibility,” he said.

However, the Muslim Brotherhood has already rejected offers from Beblawi to join the new government, calling for a mass rally on Friday to protest against what it deems “a bloody military coup.”

Egypt’s state prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and a number of other senior figures yesterday. Badie is accused of inciting the violence in Cairo on Monday in which more than 50 people were killed when Brotherhood supporters allegedly tried to storm the Republican Guard barracks were ousted president Mohamed Mursi is being held.

The Brotherhood denounced the arrest warrants and detention of its leadership, viewing this as a return to the Mubarak-era approach. Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Araf told the Associated Press: “This just signals that dictatorship is back,” adding, “We are returning to what is worse than Mubarak’s regime, which wouldn’t dare to issue an arrest warrant for the general leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said that the charges against Badie and other senior leaders were “nothing more than an attempt by the police state to dismantle the Rabaa [Al-Adawiya] protest.”

Security agencies have already arrested a number of senior Brotherhood leaders, reportedly including Badie’s powerful deputy, Khairat El-Shater. Egypt’s prosecutor-general’s office announced that senior Brotherhood figures Mohamed Badie, Mahmoud Ezzat, Mohammed El-Beltagy and Safwat Hegazy are suspected of inciting violence.

However, on Thursday Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood vowed to continue “peaceful” resistance to the military’s ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi. Muslim Brotherhood supporters have remained a fixture outside Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in eastern Cairo, denouncing the military’s ouster and pledging to remain in the streets until Mursi is returned to the presidential palace.

The Brotherhood also issued a statement distancing themselves from an attempted assassination of a senior army commander in the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday.

Unknown gunmen in northern Sinai attempted to assassinate the commander of the Second Field Army, General Ahmed Wasfy, late Wednesday. A bystander was killed in an exchange of fire between the gunmen and the convoy guarding the senior military official. Wasfy was not hurt.

The assassination attempt is just the latest violent incident to have taken place in the Sinai Peninsula, where the security situation is steadily deteriorating. A Coptic Christian man was found decapitated in the area five days after he was kidnapped by gunmen, security officials reported on Thursday. An Egyptian security official revealed that “extremist groups” had captured the man on Saturday, the same day that a Coptic priest was also killed.

Religious extremists in the Sinai Peninsula are believed to be exploiting tensions and unrest across Egypt since the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi last week.