Egypt urges peaceful demonstration as panel works on charter

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Egypt’s new cabinet held Sunday its first meeting and urged parties to keep their demonstrations peaceful, as a panel named to amend the constitution called on all sides to contribute.

In the latest violence, militants killed two soldiers and a policeman in the Sinai peninsula.

In Cairo hundreds of women marched to the defense ministry to protest the killing of three women on Friday at a rally in Mansura of supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohammed Mursi.

Footage broadcast on private television station ONTV showed soldiers blocking the way to the defense ministry, barring the road with barbed wire.

Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, outlined plans for ending the political crisis in Egypt after nearly three weeks of protests calling for his reinstatement, insisting again on his return.

Forging ahead with an army “roadmap” for political transition, foreign minister Nabil Fahmy launched a public relations campaign to boost the army-backed administration’s credibility abroad.

The caretaker cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Premier Hazem Beblawi, urged “all political parties to express their opinions peacefully, and to renounce violence,” after weeks of mass protests by pro- and anti-Mursi demonstrators, some of which turned deadly.

The meeting focused on Egypt’s battered economy and the security situation.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead the three members of the security forces in the town of El-Arish in separate attacks, in the increasingly lawless Sinai region that has seen regular attacks on police and soldiers since Mursi’s ouster.

A newly appointed panel of four university professors and six judges also held talks on drafting a new constitution at the Shura Council, or upper house of parliament, the official MENA news agency said.

The head of the panel, the president's legal adviser Ali Awad, said the body would accept suggestions for amendments from all groups and political parties for the next week.

In the wake of the July 3 coup, Egypt’s new leadership suspended the constitution that had been drawn up by an Islamist-dominated panel and adopted by referendum in December with a majority of 64 percent, but with a voter turnout of just 33 percent.

Interim President Adly Mansour appointed the constitutional committee on Saturday.

Its members have 30 days to complete their task, after which their amendments will be brought before a 50-strong body representing different groups in Egyptian society, which will submit final changes to Mansour, before he puts it to a referendum.

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