New prime minister and €9.3bn in aid for Egypt

Egypt’s military-backed interim leader has named a new prime minister and won $8bn (€9.3bn) in promises of aid from wealthy Arab allies in the Gulf.

New prime minister and €9.3bn in aid for Egypt

Egypt’s military-backed interim leader has named a new prime minister and won $8bn (€9.3bn) in promises of aid from wealthy Arab allies in the Gulf.

The moves by Adly Mansour were aimed at stabilising a political transition less than a week after the army deposed the Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

The armed forces warned political factions that “manoeuvring” must not hold up its ambitious fast-track timetable for new elections next year.

The tough message underlined how strongly the military is shepherding the process, even as liberal reform movements that backed its removal of Mr Morsi complained that now they are not being consulted in decision-making.

The Muslim Brotherhood denounced the transition plan, vowing to continue its street protests until Mr Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president, is returned to power.

The appointment of economist Hazem el-Beblawi as prime minister, along with the setting of the accelerated timetable, underlined the military’s determination to push ahead in the face of Islamist opposition and outrage over the killing of more than 50 Morsi supporters on Monday.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates provided a welcome boost for the new leadership. The two countries, both opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, celebrated his removal by showering the cash-strapped Egyptian government with promises of 8 billion US dollars in grants, loans and badly needed gas and oil.

In doing so, they are effectively stepping in for Mr Morsi’s Gulf patron, Qatar, a close ally of the Brotherhood that gave his government several billion in aid.

The developments underlined the pressures on the new leadership even with the country still in turmoil after what Mr Morsi’s supporters have called a coup against democracy.

The military faces calls, from the US and Western allies in particular, to show that civilians are in charge and Egypt is on a path toward a democratically based leadership.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington is “cautiously encouraged” by the announcement of a plan to return to democratically elected government.

But several groups in the loose coalition participating in the political process were angered over the transition plan issued on Monday by Mr Mansour.

His declaration set out a seven-month timetable for elections but also a truncated, temporary constitution laying out the division of powers in the meantime.

The top liberal political grouping, the National Salvation Front, rejected the plan late yesterday, and said it was not consulted – “in violation of previous promises”.

The secular, revolutionary youth movement Tamarod, which organised last week’s massive protests against Mr Morsi, also criticised the plan, in part because it gives too much power to Mr Mansour, including the ability to issue laws.

At the same time, Egypt remains deeply divided with heightened fears of violence, especially after Monday’s shootings. The Brotherhood and Islamist allies say they are under siege by a military crackdown that has jailed five of their leaders and shut down their media outlets.

Tens of thousands of Islamists massed for another day outside a Cairo mosque. The crowds waved pictures of Mr Morsi and brought in flag-draped empty coffins representing the slain protesters.

A spokesman for Mr Mansour announced the appointment of Mr el-Beblawi as prime minister and of pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei, a leader of the National Salvation Front, as vice president.

Mr el-Beblawi, 76, was finance minister in one of the first Cabinets formed after autocrat Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 and the military stepped in to rule for nearly 17 months.

But he resigned in protest in October 2011 after 26 protesters, mostly Christians, were killed by security forces in a crackdown on their march.

After Monday’s bloodshed, authorities stepped up moves against Islamists.

The military accused armed Islamists of starting the violence by attacking the headquarters of the Republican Guard. Morsi supporters say no such attack took place and that troops opened fire on their nearby sit-in after dawn prayers. Along with 51 protesters, an army officer and two policemen were killed.

An Egyptian security official said 650 people were arrested for allegedly trying to storm the headquarters. The official said there were Syrian and Palestinian nationals among those arrested.

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