Egypt's foreign minister says transitional government phase to end by spring


By Asma Alsharif

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Egyptian ForeignMinister Nabil Fahmy said on Saturday the transitional phase ofgovernment in Egypt should end "by next spring," replacingleaders appointed after the army ousted elected presidentMohamed Mursi in July.

The Egyptian army headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,ousted Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, on July 3 after massprotests against his one-year rule.

An interim government was appointed and a roadmap for atransition to new elections was announced.

"Work is under way, in line with the roadmap, on severaltracks. It has so far succeeded in establishing the principlesof justice, freedom and democracy, as a basis for governance,"Fahmy told the U.N. General Assembly.

"This will be followed by parliamentary elections, thenpresidential elections, so that the transitional phase ends bynext spring," he said.

Egypt's interim government is working on amending aconstitution that was drafted under Mursi by anIslamist-dominated assembly. It was seen by Mursi's opponents asfailing to guarantee rights and reflect Egypt's diversepopulation.

Mursi's ouster has led to some of the worst violence inEgypt's modern history, in the form of protests by hissupporters, a bloody police crackdown and militant attacks onthe police and churches.

More than 1,000 people have been killed since securityforces broke up two pro-Mursi camps in Cairo on Aug. 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. Thisrequires us to give the utmost priority to the preservation ofsecurity and the enforcement of the law, and to counter anyintimidation attempts aiming at hindering our efforts," Fahmytold the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders.

Egypt banned Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, whom the new rulersaccuse of committing acts of "terrorism" and inciting violence.

Fahmy said no Egyptians will be excluded from the democraticprocess as long as they are committed to peaceful means.

"All Egyptians are invited to participate in all phases ofthe political process, as long as they are committed to therenunciation of violence and terrorism, and of acts ofincitement to them," he said.

Outside the United Nations building in New York hundreds ofdemonstrators, some waving Egyptian flags, gathered to expresstheir support of the army and its crackdown on Islamists.

Some draped the Egyptian flag around their shoulders whileothers clapped to a nationalistic army song. One carried a signthat read: "We support our army in fighting terrorism - TheMuslim Brotherhood".

Pro-Mursi supporters gathered nearby with a differentmessage.

"I am here to let the world hear that these ministers, andthe one who was just talking, are illegitimate, said LailaAbdulrahim, an Egyptian living in New Jersey. "We had chosen apresident, but he and his ministers are all imprisoned."

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