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Egypt gears for Al-Sisi’s inauguration as foreign delegations arrive


Heads of states and foreign delegations land in Cairo for the Sunday ceremony

Egytpian troops stand guard outside the high constitutional court in the capital Cairo on June 7, 2014 one day before the swearing in ceremony of president elected and ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Sisi, who ousted Egypt's first freely-elected leader, will be sworn in as president tomorrow after he overwhelmingly won last week's election, state media reported.  (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

Egytpian troops stand guard outside the high constitutional court in the capital Cairo on June 7, 2014 one day before the swearing in ceremony of president elected and ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Sisi will be sworn in as president tomorrow after he overwhelmingly won last week’s election.

Heads of state, ministers and diplomats are arriving in Egypt to take part in the inauguration of president-elect Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi Sunday, as the country prepares for the Field Marshal’s swearing in.

One of the first delegations to arrive was that of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who arrived at Cairo International Airport accompanied by a high level delegation, state-run MENA reported.

Iraqi Vice President Khodeir al-Khozaei arrived to take part in Al-Sisi’s inauguration on Saturday afternoon, the German Press Agency DPA reported.

More delegations are set to arrive, including the US and those of several Gulf states, state-run MENA reported. On Saturday evening, the United States’ delegation was scheduled to arrive, headed by State Department Counselor Thomas Shannon, and will include an official from the Department of Treasury and David Thorne, senior advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Top Gulf officials scheduled to arrive on Sunday morning, include Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and deputy commander of the Emirati armed forces, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The Gulf trio has pledged billions in the form of grants, deposits and petroleum products in assistance to Egypt since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July.

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said will be represented by an official delegation headed by the personal representative of the Sultan, Assad bin Tariq Al-Said.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom arrived on Saturday.  Other delegations from Africa include Mauritania’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Ould Teguedi who represents President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Teguedi arrived in Egypt in the early hours of Saturday, DPA reported. Djibouti delegated Islamic and Cultural Affairs and Endowments Minister Adam Hassan Adam, who has already arrived in Egypt, to represent the country in the inauguration. Mohamed Al-Arabi Ould Khalifa, chairman of Algeria’s People’s National Assembly, the Lower House of Parliament, will also attend the inauguration.

As a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei, arrived in Cairo on Saturday.

French Ambassador to Egypt Nicolas Galey will be representing France in the ceremony; state-run MENA reported citing Roman Nadal, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry.

Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Sindiso Ngwenya has arrived to partake in the inauguration, as officials from several other international bodies prepare to land in Cairo.

Abdelwahed Radi, president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organisation of parliaments founded in 1889, was scheduled to arrive Saturday.  So are Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Iyad Madani and Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, expected to arrive Saturday evening.

Al-Sisi was announced president last week, after winning 96.9% of valid votes, totalling 23,780,104, beating the only other contender, Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabahy. The cabinet on Thursday announced that Sunday, the day of the inauguration, would be a public holiday. A source at the Ministry of Interior’s press office said security forces from the police, army and republican guards will be taking part in securing the day. Security forces will mainly be creating traffic detours.

During the ceremony, the president-elect is set to take the oath-of-office before the Supreme Constitutional Court.  His supporters have scheduled a number of celebrations leading up to Sunday to mark the occasion.

After Al-Sisi’s victory, countries and international bodies were quick to congratulate the former defence minister as well as to recommend the adoption of reforms and guarantee rights.  These include the European Union, which said it trusted that Al-Sisi would tackle “serious issues” including economic problems, “deep divisions within society”, security, and “the rest of human rights of all Egyptian citizens…”

While the White House said it is looking forward to work with Egypt’s president, it did share a set of concerns and called for reforms. The United Kingdom also said it is looking forward to work with Al-Sisi’s government but added that it looks to the president-elect to “take steps to implement the rights contained in Egypt’s constitution.”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged Egyptian authorities “to strengthen democratic institutions and practices.”

Arab countries and bodies the other hand expressed their congratulations while revelling in Al-Sisi’s victory and expressing trust in his ability to lead the country. Officials from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Morocco, and the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council issued such congratulatory messages.

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