Egypt's foreign minister says transitional government phase to end by spring
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said on Saturday the transitional phase of government in Egypt should end "by next spring," replacing leaders appointed after the army ousted elected president Mohamed Mursi in July.
The Egyptian army headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, ousted Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, on July 3 after mass protests against his one-year rule.
An interim government was appointed and a roadmap for a transition to new elections was announced.
"Work is under way, in line with the roadmap, on several tracks. It has so far succeeded in establishing the principles of justice, freedom and democracy, as a basis for governance," Fahmy told the U.N. General Assembly.
"This will be followed by parliamentary elections, then presidential elections, so that the transitional phase ends by next spring," he said.
Egypt's interim government is working on amending a constitution that was drafted under Mursi by an Islamist-dominated assembly. It was seen by Mursi's opponents as failing to guarantee rights and reflect Egypt's diverse population.
Mursi's ouster has led to some of the worst violence in Egypt's modern history, in the form of protests by his supporters, a bloody police crackdown and militant attacks on the police and churches.
More than 1,000 people have been killed since security forces broke up two pro-Mursi camps in Cairo on August 14.
Egypt's new rulers announced a month-long emergency law, which was extended in September, and imposed a curfew.
"We are determined to fully implement the roadmap. This requires us to give the utmost priority to the preservation of security and the enforcement of the law, and to counter any intimidation attempts aiming at hindering our efforts," Fahmy told the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders.
Egypt banned Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, whom the new rulers accuse of committing acts of "terrorism" and inciting violence.
Fahmy said no Egyptians will be excluded from the democratic process as long as they are committed to peaceful means.
"All Egyptians are invited to participate in all phases of the political process, as long as they are committed to the renunciation of violence and terrorism, and of acts of incitement to them," he said.
Outside the United Nations building in New York hundreds of demonstrators, some waving Egyptian flags, gathered to express their support of the army and its crackdown on Islamists.
Some draped the Egyptian flag around their shoulders while others clapped to a nationalistic army song. One carried a sign that read: "We support our army in fighting terrorism - The Muslim Brotherhood".
Pro-Mursi supporters gathered nearby with a different message.
"I am here to let the world hear that these ministers, and the one who was just talking, are illegitimate, said Laila Abdulrahim, an Egyptian living in New Jersey. "We had chosen a president, but he and his ministers are all imprisoned."
(Reporting by Asma Alsharif; editing by Christopher Wilson)