Egypt finance minister Beblawi says not yet asked to stay on

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CAIRO: Egyptian Finance Minister Hazem El-Beblawi said on Wednesday he had not yet been asked to stay in his post in a new Cabinet due to be formed by the end of the week.

Egypt’s government has struggled to close a widening budget deficit and foreign reserves are sliding as it tries to support a currency weakened by an exodus of foreign investors and a slump in tourism.

Its woes have been compounded by political turmoil and security fears that deepened last week when protesters demanding an end to army rule clashed with riot police, leaving 42 people dead and prompting the interim government to resign.

The ruling military council on Friday named political veteran Kamal El-Ganzoury to form a new Cabinet that would last until mid-2012.

Asked if he had been approached to stay on as finance minister in the new Cabinet, Beblawi told Reuters: "All I can say is that, up to this very moment, I was not approached by anyone."

He declined to comment on any developments in negotiations for an International Monetary Fund financing package that economists say Egypt needs to avoid a looming budget crunch.


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