Egyptian interim prime minister calls for unity

July 21, 2013 at 8:27 AM
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CAIRO, July 21 (UPI) -- Egypt's interim prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, is calling for an end to divisions in the country after Mohamed Morsi's ouster.

"Now I see we have to return to harmony. Divisions cannot last. Egypt is for all Egyptians," al-Ahram quoted him as saying in an interview on state television Saturday. "We are not the first country to suffer from division. We are learning from other countries' experiences such as South Africa."

The 76-year-old said he was hesitant at first to accept the position but realized "when many refused the post, I felt obliged to accept it to fulfill a duty towards the country."

El-Beblawi stressed he was free to choose the ministers in the transitional government and "if there are any mistakes regarding the choices of the ministers in the Cabinet, then it will be mine."

The "government cannot hold the entire responsibility on its own; we should all work together for the public interest,"

All political affiliations are represented in the new government, he said.

El-Beblawi also revealed that the first time he met Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was when he was sworn in as prime minister. The army general is viewed by many as being the leading power that led to Morsi's ouster.

Egypt, the prime minister said, will not accept any foreign interference in its domestic affairs. When asked to comment on Turkey, which strongly supported Morsi's government but not the current one, he stressed that Egypt values its relations with Turkey adding "the Turkish prime minister may not have a full picture of what is happening in Egypt."

Referring to the United States, he said "ending cooperation with Egypt is not in the U.S.' best interest. The way they change their position on Egypt indicates they will not end their relations with Egypt."

The country's economy needs a complete restructure, he said.

"Transparency is the most important thing to fight corruption," he said. "I want the people to share in solving the problems we have in Egypt. They will share the solutions if they are told about the problems in a transparent way."

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