President Anwar Sadat chaired the first meeting of his newly formed cabinet on Thursday (5 October) and told them the main task ahead was to switch the nation from a war to a peace-time economy.
President Anwar Sadat chaired the first meeting of his newly formed cabinet on Thursday (5 October) and told them the main task ahead was to switch the nation from a war to a peace-time economy. The new ministers, mainly technocrats and academics, has already been described as the first Egyptian cabinet to be committed to peace with Israel since the founding of the Jewish state thirty years ago.
SYNOPSIS: Before the cabinet meeting, the ministers met at the headquarters of Mr. Sadat's newly formed National Democratic Party. Dr. Mustapha Khalil, the new Prime Minister, was greeted by the Secretary-General of the party, Fikri Makram Ebeid. He's also been appointed Deputy Prime Minister, and will be responsible for co-ordinating the work of the party, the Government and Parliament. Although several ministers have remained unchanged, President Sadat's reshuffle has created one of the most radical changes in government since the overthrow of King Farouk. The first task facing the new government is to prepare for next week's peace treaty talks with Israel in Washington.
Prime Minister Khalil has warned that peace does not mean overnight prosperity for Egypt's forty million people. In a broadcast to the nation he said "Prosperity is linked to work, effort and sweat". Political observers said this was seen as the new administration's first move to dispel a commonly-held view that peace with Israel would quickly solve Egypt's pressing economic and social problems.
President Sadat, in charging Dr. Khalil with forming a new Government, underlined this attitude when he spoke of the need to "rebuild all aspects of our life."
One of the members of the old cabinet, the Minister of Social Affairs, Dr. Amal Osman, will play a key role in the reorganisation of daily life. So will the Minister of Supplies, Mr. Nassef Tahoun. They join their new colleagues at a time which President Sadat has called "a turning point in Egyptian history".