Egyptian PM seeks Israel-Palestine ceasefire

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The Egyptian Prime Minister has denounced Israel’s attacks on Gaza and says Cairo will try to secure a ceasefire.

Hisham Qandil paid a three-hour visit to the Palestinian territory on Friday, visiting the Council of Ministers building as well as a hospital treating those wounded by the attacks.

Cross-border fighting continued during the visit.

Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, has brokered informal truces between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza strip before.

The government of Egypt, which is seen as ideologically close to Hamas, now has to balance solidarity with the fellow Islamists with the country’s dependence on US aid, worth around 1.6 billion euros per year.

Qandil says Egypt seeks the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Egypt: Islamist joy as Morsy is elected president

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Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted in joy on hearing that Mohamed Morsy – a man once imprisoned under former dictator Hosni Mubarak – has become the first president of post-revolution Egypt.

Following a long delay for the results of last week’s vote, some had feared the military council – which has ruled the country for the last 16 months – might name ex-general Ahmed Shafik victorious, so Morsy’s dramatic victory came as a relief to them.

The official result was announced, exactly a week after the vote, by Farouk Sultan, Head of the Supreme Election Committee.

“Doctor Mohamed Mohamed Morsi Issa Iyadh has 13, 230,131 votes, representing 51.7 percent, and he is therefore named President of the Arab Republic of Egypt,” he said.

Some in the news conference reacted angrily on hearing the result, but there was joy in Tahrir Square where unrest was feared if the result had gone the other way.

Egypt’s generals recently curbed some of the powers of the presidency, meaning they retain control of the biggest army in the Middle East and Morsy will now have to work closely with them on the planned democratic constitution.

President Morsy has pledged to form an inclusive government to appeal to many Egyptians including the large Christian minority who were anxious over Islamist rule. He has also said that he will respect international treaties, notably that signed with Israel in 1979.