Egypt President Morsi breaks Ramadan fast with newly reshuffled SCAF

Ahram Online , Thursday 16 Aug 2012

Morsi uses occasion to stress importance of raising efficiency of Egyptian Armed Forces as he attempts to mend fences between military, Muslim Brotherhood

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, swears in newly-appointed Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo: AP)

President Mohamed Morsi broke the Ramadan fast with members of Egypt’s newly-reshuffled Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Thursday at the Presidential Palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district.

Attendees reportedly discussed this week's sweeping personnel changes to the military's top brass, as well as recent developments in the country and region.

Morsi, for his part, used the occasion to stress the importance of raising the overall efficiency of Egypt's armed forces.

According to Morsi spokesman Yasser Ali, the president also asked the SCAF to raise standards of living for officers and soldiers in all branches of the armed forces.

On Sunday, the president – who hails from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood – issued a surprise decision to retire SCAF head Hussein Tantawi and Chief-of-Staff Sami Anan; terminate the military's 18 June constitutional addendum; and appoint reformist judge Mahmoud Mekki as Egypt's new vice-president.

Morsi also retired the commanders of Egypt's navy, air force and air-defence forces.  On Wednesday, the president appointed new commanders to all three branches of Egypt's military establishment.

One day earlier, Major General Hassan El-Roweiny, commander of Egypt's Central Military Zone (Cairo), formally resigned from the SCAF.

Thursday's meeting between the newly reformed SCAF and the president comes within the context of the latter's efforts to win over Egypt's military establishment, which has been historically suspicious of the Muslim Brotherhood's intentions.

Earlier this week, Morsi ordered that studies be carried out aimed at finding a viable means of raising the salaries of all members of the Egyptian Armed Forces. 

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