Egypt’s new premier urges end to protests

Ibrahim Mahlab made his appeal in an address televised live on state TV

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Egypt’s new prime minister urged on Sunday a halt to all protests and strikes to give the nation a breather to rebuild after more than three years of turmoil, the Associated Press.

“The time for work and productivity has come and no voice must be louder than the voice of construction and development,” Ibrahim Mahlab, a former housing minister and a construction executive, said.

Mahlab made his appeal in an address televised live on state TV, his first full day on the job after he and members of his Cabinet were sworn in on the previous day.

During his first address to the nation, Mahlab also said that security was his cabinet's top priority, as security forces have faced near daily attacks since the July ouster of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi.

"The first priority is to impose security, counter terrorism firmly and legally, and restore stability by preserving human rights and democracy," Mahlab said.

"I know that the responsibility is big, that the challenges are bigger. But together, we will face all crises and steer the nation's ship to the shore of security," he added.

Mahlab was named prime minister last week following the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Hazem el-Beblawi, after seven months in office.

The former government faced a wave of strikes and protests that officials said undercut the economy.

In a press conference held shortly after his appointment, Mahlab said: “We will work together to restore security and safety to Egypt and crush terrorism in all corners of the country.”

Mahlab, a former official in deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, is a civil engineer who formerly served as chairman and CEO of Arab Contractors Company, a large Egyptian civil engineering firm.

The country has been hit by a violent series of protests since the military-backed ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi, who is now being tried on charges involving protester killings.

(With AP)