Ministers of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s cabinet, led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, submitted their resignation to the president on Saturday. Sisi ordered the cabinet to continue carrying out their duties until a new cabinet is formed.
The resignation, which included all cabinet members, was accepted by President Sisi on Saturday morning and came shortly after Prime Minister Mahlab produced an official report on the performance of Egypt’s government, which President Sisi is said to have been displeased with.
The departure of the Prime Minister Mahlab’s cabinet also follows the resignation of Salah Helal, the agriculture minister, the week before. Shortly after his resignation, Helal was arrested on charges dealing with bribery and corruption.
Despite these circumstances, the official reason for the resignation is unknown and comes earlier than anticipated; President Sisi’s cabinet was expected to step down following parliamentary elections scheduled for October and November. In the interim, President Sisi has tasked Sherif Ismail, former oil minister and now the prime minister-designate, to form a new government.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on the international community to join Russia in bolstering the Syrian army, on Friday.
Russia officially denies that its policy is to support the Syrian government, led by Bashar al-Assad, but that its increased military activity in the region was part of the international effort to defeat the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“You cannot defeat [ISIL] with air strikes only,” said Lavrov. “It’s necessary to cooperate with ground troops and the Syrian army is the most efficient and powerful ground force to fight [ISIL].”
A recent buildup of Russian military equipment and personnel in Syria has worried many Western nations, especially the United States, who thought that Russia was growing weary of its long-time ally.
United States President Barack Obama has said that Russia’s strategy of doubling down on Assad is a “mistake.” Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke with Foreign Minister Lavrov multiple times last week, warning that Russia’s increased involvement and buildup could further escalate the devastating conflict.
Despite the international pressure, Russia has vowed to continue its support to the Syrian forces as an effort to defeat ISIL.
Burundi’s army chief of staff survived an assassination attempt on a busy road in the capital, Bujumbura, on Friday.
Armed assailants attacked General Prime Niyongabo’s motorcade when he was traveling to his office in the morning; reporters in the capital said the army chief was unarmed.
The men were armed with guns and rockets; four of the assailants, two of whom were injured, had been captured, according to a military source who spoke to the BBC. The attackers were clothed in military uniforms and were traveling in a military vehicle, which enabled them to come in close proximity to the army chief’s motorcade.
A senior police source told AFP, “[The army chief] managed to survive only because the driver managed to overtake a bus transporting police officers to work, and the attackers could not keep up.”
The frequency of targeted attacks of key government and military officials has increased by groups opposed to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s administration, who is serving his third term.