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07/04/13

Egypt Swears in Interim President as Morsi Ouster Brings World Concern, Support

By Sharon Behn, VOA

CAIRO - The chief justice of Egypt's supreme constitutional court has been named president, after the military ousted democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi only a year into his term.


Celebration of Morsi's ouster in Tahrir Square

Constitutional court Chief Justice Adly Mansour was sworn in as the new interim president on Thursday, following days of street demonstrations against Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi.

“I swear by Almighty God to uphold the republican system and respect the law and Constitution, and to fully safeguard the rights of the people, and safeguard the independence and integrity of the homeland," Mansour promised.

Some Morsi describe his ouster as a coup.

Analysts described the action as a clear rejection of Morsi's conservative religious leanings. The ousted leader was strongly supported by the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Lawyer Hassan Mahmoud Soliman was in Tahrir Square, the center of the uprising. “Look, Egypt has always been a moderate country," he noted. "We have never been a secular country or a religious one. We always wanted Egypt to be moderate. What has happened is for the good of all of Egypt. We are an ancient and moderate civilization, we have always been this way, and we will remain this way forever."

Army chief Abdul Fatah Khalil al-Sisi on Wednesday laid out a roadmap for the country, including a panel to review Egypt's now-suspended constitution, a national reconciliation committee, and elections for a new president and parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which had vowed to defend Morsi to the death, has been quiet. Many of its leaders have been banned from leaving the country and a top leader has been arrested.

The former president is being held at a military compound.

Australian National University Egyptian scholar Adel Abdel Ghafar, who is currently in Cairo, said he does not expect a violent backlash.

“I think the majority of Egyptians from low-income to middle-income earners are really focused on putting food on the table and getting back to work," Ghafar said."The country has been on hold for a few days and the economy is already suffering. I think the majority of the people are really keen on getting back to work and getting some stability.”

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, crowds were still waving flags and celebrating president Morsi's ouster, whistling and cheering as Egypt's air force flew overhead forming a giant white heart in the sky.

Morsi Ouster Brings World Concern, Support

Source: VOA

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of U.S. aid to Egypt, after that country's military ousted democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.

In a statement, the president said he was "deeply concerned" about the military's decision and called for a return to democracy as soon as possible in Egypt, a long-time U.S. ally. He also urged Egypt's military to ensure that the rights of civilians are protected during the transition.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon described the upheaval in Egypt as a "volatile situation" and called for a return to civilian rule "as soon as possible." He said he continues to stand with the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

Turkey, an ally of Egypt that recently struggled with its own anti-government protests, expressed concern. At a Thursday news conference, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Morsi's ouster by the military was "unacceptable" and "extremely alarming."

The party of Tunisia's president condemned the Egyptian military's ouster of Mohamed Morsi as a blow to democracy.

Leaders in Saudi Arabia, however, sent messages of congratulations to Egypt. Qatar said it will continue to support the will of the Egyptian people.

The United Arab Emirates also voiced support for the transition. UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan congratulated Egyptian chief justice Adly Mansour, who has been sworn in as Egypt's interim leader.

Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad welcomed the removal of Morsi. In a state media report, he said that after Morsi's year in office the Egyptian people had uncovered what he called the "lies" made by the ousted leader's Muslim Brotherhood movement.

 

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