x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Muslim Brotherhood chiefs' assets frozen

Egyptian authorities have frozen the financial assets of 14 Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist leaders accused of inciting violence. Alice Fordham reports from Cairo

Pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei, a leader of the National Salvation Front, centre left, shakes hands with interim President Adly Mansour after being sworn in as vice president.
Pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei, a leader of the National Salvation Front, centre left, shakes hands with interim President Adly Mansour after being sworn in as vice president.

CAIRO // Egyptian authorities yesterday froze the financial assets of 14 Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist leaders accused of inciting violence.

Prosecutors suspended the accounts of the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and former vice president Essam El Erian as part of an investigation into incidents including a mass shooting at dawna week ago, state media said.

More than 50 people, mostly supporters of the Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, were killed in the violence at a protest outside a military barracks in Cairo.

The legal moves came as Egypt's new interim government began to take shape with cabinet ministerial roles and other senior appointments.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel peace laureate and former diplomat, was sworn in as vice president after his nomination as prime minister last week was vetoed by the hardline Islamist Al Nour party, who supported Mr Morsi's removal.

Mr ElBaradei's new position is thought to include responsibility for foreign relations. He stepped down as leader of the National Salvation Front liberal coalition to take the position, and was sworn in by the interim president Adly Mansour

The interim prime minister Hazem El Beblawi, a liberal economist, appointed new finance and foreign ministers, who both face daunting tasks.

Egypt is struggling with a downward spiral in its economy, and faces hostility from some foreign governments who have concerns over the manner of Mr Morsi's removal.

Ahmed Galal, an economist who spent 18 years with the World Bank and has promoted education reform in the Arab world, was named finance minister. He will be expected by the cross-section of Egyptians who called for the fall of the previous government to address their grievances of rising prices and unemployment, exacerbated by the chaos since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

The new foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, was Mubarak's ambassador to the United States for almost a decade, until 2008. He also founded the school of public affairs at Cairo University. He faces a thorny path, with Turkish and Tunisian governments, headed by Islamists with close ties to Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, condemning recent events and calling for Mr Morsi to be reinstated.

Ziad Bahaa Eldin, a financial regulator and politician, is the deputy prime minister, and the tourism minister Hisham Zaazou will stay in his current position.

Gen Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the head of the military, said in a speech to military officers yesterday that no one was excluded from politics, a remark presumably aimed at the Brotherhood.

"Every political force without exception and without exclusion must realise that an opportunity is available for everyone in political life, and no ideological movement is prevented from participating," he said.

But the Muslim Brotherhood has so far rejected any role in the current political process, which is set to move toward a referendum on a revised constitution and elections within six months.

Gehad Al Haddad, a Brotherhood spokesman, wrote on its website that "Egyptians still reject any role for the military within politics and will continue the sit-ins and protests that have drawn hundreds of thousands of supporters of Mr Morsi over the past week".

"We have no worries or fears about staying in or getting out of public squares," said Mr Al Haddad. "Directing military rifles to the chests of sons and daughters of this homeland, and not the enemies, alienated the military, and it has to make an effort to come back."

afordham@thenational.ae

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