An initiative towards ending Egypt's archaeologists' protests

Nevine El-Aref , Monday 26 Sep 2011

After the delivery of Abdel Fatah's resignation as secretary general of Egypt's antiquities council, he meets with the prime minister, who takes steps to resolve budget problems amidst archaeologists' protests

Mohamed Abdel Fatah

It seems that the pharaohs’ curse follows whoever leads Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). Today, the SCA’s secretary general Mohamed Abdel Fatah’s meeting with PM Essam Sharaf didn’t achieve all its goals.

The meeting comes three days after Abdel Fatah’s resignation following continuous protests in front of both SCA buildings in Zamalek and Abbassiya. Some want the SCA to return to the Ministry of State for Antiquities, others ask for a salary rise, temporary SCA employees want to be appointed as permanent staff while fresh graduates want jobs at the SCA.

Abdel Fatah met and talked with all of them, promising to meet their demands where possible, but told them the SCA is suffering from a lack of funds.

Unfortunately they did not listen to Abdel Fatah and continue to demonstrate and prevent other SCA employees from entering the building and doing their work.lastTuesday afternoon, Abdel Fatah had submitted his resignation PM Essam Sharaf.The Cabinet refused the resignation 24 hours after being submitted.

During the meeting, Abdel Fatah told Ahram Online that he discussed with PM Sharaf all the obstacles SCA is facing to properly and efficiently proceed with its archaeological and administrative work. Abdel Fatah assured that Sharaf understood it well and sent him to the Ministry of Finance to discuss SCA finances in order to provide a sufficient budget.

Minister of Finance Hazem El-Beblawi assigned a team to study the problems and prepare a report to be submitted to Sharaf.

Although the goal of the meeting was to address all the SCA problems once and for all, according to an archaeologist and an SCA staff who requested they remain anonymous, the meeting did not achieve all of its goals.

The archaeologist repeated what Abdel Fatah told him: that he will not return to office until gaining the power and authority necessary for him to proceed with the work.

Ahram Online, at the time of publishing, was not able to reach Abdel Fatah (his phone is switched off) to confirm the statement. Protestors are still sitting in front of the façade of the SCA’s buildings.

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