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Egypt arrests agriculture minister over corruption allegations

Egyptian authorities have arrested the country's agriculture minister over corruption allegations

Published: Updated:

Egyptian authorities have arrested the country's agriculture minister over corruption allegations on Monday, security sources said, just after his resignation was announced.

The prime minister's office released a statement earlier on Monday saying Salah El Din Mahmoud Helal's resignation had been accepted on the instruction of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

The statement did not mention any reasons for Salah El Din Mahmoud Helal's departure.

Egypt is the world's largest importer of wheat.

In July, the agriculture ministry banned cotton imports in order, it said, to boost local production. Egypt grows a high-quality and extra long staple cotton, once known as "white gold", but output has been shrinking for years.

"The ministry is keen on Egyptian cotton regaining its glory on all levels," it said in announcing the ban.

Eight days later, the cabinet reversed the decision, giving no reason beyond saying that this was in the context of "developing cotton farming and supporting its farmers".

Alarmed textile manufacturers had campaigned against the ban, which would have deprived them of cheap imported cotton.