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Egypt PM declares new govt's support for army's Sinai clampdown

Following Cabinet's first meeting on Wednesday, PM Qandil pledges government's full support for Sinai security crackdown, dismisses rumours that mother, wife are Palestinian

Zeinab El Gundy , Wednesday 8 Aug 2012
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At the Egyptian Cabinet's first press conference following its inaugural meeting Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil pledged the government's full support for Egypt's security forces in their bid to restore order and stability to the restive Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt's newly-appointed premier outlined key points raised at the Cabinet meeting, including an upcoming visit to Egypt by a delegation from the International Monetary Fund in August and the prospect of securing a loan from the global financial organisation.

The Cabinet also discussed a Ministry of Interior report detailing recent procedures taken against the practice of blocking the nation's roads (a practice frequently resorted to by protesters), as well as procedures aimed at protecting the nation's hospitals.

At the brief press conference that followed the meeting, Qandil declared that his government had approved a new Child Health Insurance Law, which, he said, would benefit 13 million children across the country.

Qandil also denied rumours that have recently circulated on social media websites that his mother and wife were both of Palestinian origin.

"With all due respect to Palestine, neither my mother nor my wife has Palestinian roots. My mother is from Giza, while my wife is originally from Mansoura," the prime minister stated, going on to deny any affiliation with religiously-oriented parties or groups.

Head of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi was reportedly unable to attend Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, since he had already held a key meeting with President Mohamed Morsi and Chief of Staff Sami Anan to discuss the latest developments in Sinai, particularly those regarding the recent military operation launched with the aim of dislodging militants alleged to be active in the region.

Instead, Tantawi sent his aide, Major General Hassan El-Rowaini, to attend Wednesday's meeting.

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