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Egypt's interim gov't takes oath


08:17, July 17, 2013

CAIRO, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's interim government, headed by Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi, was sworn in on Tuesday, with no one from Islamic parties included in the interim cabinet.

While retaining the post of defense minister, Abdel-Fattah el- Sisi, who on behalf of the military ousted Islamist-oriented President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, will be the first deputy of Beblawi.

Ziad Bahaa-Eddin, who was sworn in as minister of international cooperation, and Hossam Eissa, who is to hold the higher education portfolio, will be Beblawi's another two deputies.

Three Copts assume posts in the 33-minister cabinet. The cabinet also includes three females: Maha Zein el-Aabdeen, minister of health and population; Laylah Rashid Exander, minister of environment affairs; and Doriah Sharaf el-Din, minister of culture.

The transportation minister is not included in the new lineup.

Also the ministry for planning and international cooperation was separated into two ministries. Ziad Bahaa-Eddin is the minister of international Cooperation, and Ashraf el-Arabi for planning.

New ministry for Transition Justice and Reconciliation headed by Mohamed Mahdi was introduced.

At least five ministers from the former cabinet kept their posts, including tourism, interior, electricity, defense and communication.

The Muslim Brotherhood, from which ousted President Morsi hails, rejected taking part in the new cabinet, saying in a statement "We don't recognize its legitimacy or its authority."

After the new cabinet was sworn in, interim President Adli Mansour convened the first meeting of the cabinet at the presidential palace to mainly discuss issues of economy and security. The meeting was also attended by Vice President for International relations Mohamed ElBradei.

A senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood said earlier the group "refuses" any talk about national reconciliation called upon by the presidency because it happens under "illegitimate" power.

The Egyptian Presidency said earlier Tuesday that it has started making contacts with different political groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist forces, to discuss national reconciliation, expecting "most Islamist forces" to join the process.

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