As World Watches, Egypt's Interim President Praises Protests

Image: As World Watches, Egypt's Interim President Praises Protests

Thursday, 04 Jul 2013 07:37 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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CAIRO — Egypt's interim president praised the mass protests demanding the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, saying they united Egyptians.

"The most glorious thing about June 30 is that it brought together everyone without discrimination or division," he said. "I offer my greetings to the revolutionary people of Egypt."

President Adly Mansour made the remarks at his swearing-in ceremony Thursday at the Supreme Constitutional Court. Mansour, who was the court's chief justice, replaces Morsi, the Islamist leader who was overthrown by the military on Wednesday after just one year in office.

According to military decree, Mansour will serve as Egypt's interim leader until a new president is elected. A date for that vote has yet to be set.

Morsi is under house arrest at an undisclosed location.

Egypt's air force staged several fly pasts in a smoggy Cairo sky on Thursday minutes before the country's interim leader was sworn in, in a vivid reminder of the military's role in ousting Morsi.

Fourteen jets in V-formation blazed over downtown Cairo shortly before Mansour was sworn in then nine more jets flew at low altitude, leaving a trail of red, white, and black smoke behind them to signify the colors of the Egyptian flag.

The Egyptian prosecutor's office also ordered on Thursday the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood's top leader, Mohamed Badie, and his deputy Khairat el-Shater.

Badie, was arrested in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh, near the Libyan border, although security sources said they did not believe he had been trying to flee the country. Both men were charged with inciting violence against protesters outside the Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo that was attacked on Sunday night.

At least 16 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in street clashes across Egypt since Morsi's overthrow.
 
Television stations sympathetic to Morsi were taken off air, and a newspaper affiliated with the Brotherhood's political arm said the state-owned printing press had refused to produce its Thursday edition.
 
Perhaps aware of the risk of a polarized society, Mansour, used his inauguration to hold out an olive branch to the Brotherhood, Morsi's power base.
 
"The Muslim Brotherhood are part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation as nobody will be excluded, and if they respond to the invitation, they will be welcomed," he said.
 
But a senior Brotherhood official said it would not work with "the usurper authorities." 

Meanwhile, world reaction to the fast-moving developments in Egypt were both mixed and cautious as the potentially explosive political developments continued to unfold.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told journalists in Cophenhagen that civilian rule in Egypt "should be resumed as soon as possible," and that the country's future leadership should reflect the Egyptian people's will.

"It is a volatile situation (and) it is not clear where we are heading," Ban said, adding that "inclusivity" was key to any solution of the Middle Eastern country's woes.

In the region, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait congratulated Mansour after he was sworn in. Most Gulf Arab states, rattled by the rise of Islamists in the Middle East, watched with relief as the Egyptian army stepped in to try to end the most serious crisis in the Arab world since Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011.
 
"We followed with all consideration and satisfaction the national consensus that your brotherly country is witnessing, and which had played a prominent role in leading Egypt peacefully out of the crisis it had faced," UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan said in a cable to Mansour.
 
Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah congratulated Egypt's interim president and people. The KUNA state news agency said Sheikh Sabah praised Egypt's armed forces for the "positive and historic role" it played in preserving stability.
 
Gulf Arab states have long seen Egypt as a strategic ally against any potential threat from non-Arab Iran across the Gulf.
 
Relations between Egypt and most Gulf Arab states suffered after the uprising that toppled long-time ally Mubarak and propelled the Muslim Brotherhood to power.
 
Worried that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt would embolden Islamists at home, the UAE launched a crackdown on Islamists, arresting scores. A UAE court this week convicted more than 60 for plotting to seize power by force.
 
Saudi King Abdullah sent a message to Mansour late on Wednesday. Qatar, the only Gulf Arab state that formally backed the Muslim Brotherhood, said it would support the Egyptian people, Al Jazeera television reported.
 
"Qatar will continue to respect the will of Egypt and its people across the spectrum," al Jazeera quoted a foreign ministry source as saying.

But in Tunisia, there was a much different response.

Rached Ghannouchi, who heads Tunisia's ruling Ennahda party close to the Muslim Brotherhood, ruled out a similar scenario in his country.

"Some young dreamers may think that they can repeat in Tunisia what happened in Egypt, but their efforts would be wasted," Ghannouchi told Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, insisting the situation in Tunisia is "different" from that in Egypt.

"We have taken a serious strategy based on consensus especially between the Islamist and modernist movements, which has saved our country the risks of divisions," he said.
 
Tunisians have recently launched their version of Tamarod (rebellion) campaign, which mobilized the massive protests against Morsi who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Political stability in the North African country that touched off the Arab Spring uprisings remains fragile, two and a half years after the revolution that ousted veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Tunisia’s political forces are now locked in debate as they seek to draw up a post-revolution constitution, which is seen as key to restoring stability there.

The African Union is likely to suspend Egypt from all its activities, a senior source told Reuters news service in Addis Ababa.  Members of the AU's peace and security council would meet on Friday and were likely to implement the AU's usual response to any interruption of constitutional rule by a member state.

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