Middle East

New Egypt cabinet sworn in amid continuing protests

Protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo, 12 July
Image caption PM Essam Sharaf has been under pressure from both protesters and the ruling military council

New ministers in a reshuffled Egyptian cabinet have been sworn in amid protests over the pace of reforms.

Fourteen new ministers were reported to be taking their oaths but key ministers including Interior Minister Mansour Essawy are keeping their posts.

There has been much wrangling over the reshuffle, and observers are gauging whether it will mollify protesters camped out in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

The embattled prime minister was twice forced to delay the ceremony.

The swearing-in was originally scheduled for Monday, but the choice was postponed amid disagreements between Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and the ruling military council over Mr Sharaf's choice of ministers.

Mr Sharaf was then admitted to hospital overnight, suffering from low blood pressure, and he spent Tuesday resting before finalising the new line-up.

Military council

Among the ministers which state news agency Mena said had been sworn in on Thursday were those in charge of foreign affairs and finance.

It was the second reshuffle since the convulsions in February that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says it does seem to have taken some of the impetus away from protests.

The head of the council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, watched Thursday's swearing-in, Mena reported.

The role of the ruling military council is a target of the protesters' ire.

They accuse the council of failing to take radical enough action against deposed President Mubarak and members of his old regime, and are demanding faster political and economic reforms.

Activists have called a mass demonstration on Friday, dubbing it "Decisive Friday", while hardline Islamist groups say they are organising a counter-protest for "stability", AFP news agency reported.

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites