Skip to main content

Official: Egypt's foreign minister quits after less than month on job

By the CNN Wire Staff
Protesters shout slogans as thousands crowd Cairo's Tahrir Square on July 15, 2011 to demand political change.
Protesters shout slogans as thousands crowd Cairo's Tahrir Square on July 15, 2011 to demand political change.
  • NEW: Two men are appointed as deputy prime ministers in Egypt's government
  • Prime Minister Esam Sharaf accepts the resignation Saturday of Mohamed el-Orabi
  • Orabi had been appointed in June as foreign minister, replacing Nabil Elaraby
  • Protesters have again descended on a Cairo square, demanding more change
  • Egypt

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egypt's foreign minister resigned Saturday, part of a reshuffling of Egypt's government in the face of continued demonstrations calling for reforms.

Prime Minister Esam Sharaf accepted the submitted resignation of Mohamed el-Orabi, who had been in office for less than a month, according to foreign ministry spokesman Menha Bakhoum.

The move came amid continued change in Egypt's government, with Sharaf announcing Saturday that Hazem Al-Beblawy and Ali Al-Selmy had been appointed as deputy prime ministers. Beblawy will oversee economy-related matters while Selmy will head "the political development and the democratic transition," according to a release on the Egyptian cabinet's website.

These developments come as public pressure has intensified in recent weeks. Some Egyptians are claiming that the reforms instituted since President Hosni Mubarak stepped down February 11 are not significant enough. Several people working within the current government have been criticized for allegedly being too close to the former leader and those who helped suppress protests last winter.

Thousands of disgruntled pro-democracy activists have again descended on Cairo's Tahrir Square, setting up tents in the iconic roundabout that was the hub of the uprising earlier this year.

The exact circumstances surrounding Orabi's resignation are unknown, though he had a long history of government service in Mubarak's government.

A former deputy foreign minister for foreign affairs, he became foreign minister in June in place of Nabil Elaraby. Elaraby was elected in May to head the 22-member Arab League after Amre Moussa decided to be a candidate in the next presidential elections in Egypt.

Orabi served in the Egyptian Army before he joined the foreign service in 1976. He was deputy ambassador in Tel Aviv, Israel, from 1994 to 1998 and has worked in Kuwait, London and Washington. He held the position of ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2008.

There was no immediate word on who might succeed Orabi as foreign minister.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and Sharaf's caretaker cabinet have been in charge of the country since Mubarak's ouster, a time that has been marked by significant, evolving changes in Egypt's government.

Journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
'Sons of Mubarak' in plea for respect
Pro-Mubarak supporters believe Egypt's former president is innocent of charges of corruption and killing protesters.
Timeline of the conflict in Libya
Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a nationwide civil war.
Who are these rebels?
After months of seeming stalemate, Libyan rebels declared they were moving in on Tripoli. But who are they?
Why NATO's Libya mission has shifted
Six months and more than 17,000 air sorties after it began, NATO's Operation Unified Protector in the skies over Libya grinds on.
Interactive map: Arab unrest
Click on countries in CNN's interactive map to see the roots of their unrest and where things stand today.
Send your videos, stories
Are you in the Middle East or North Africa? Send iReport your images. Don't do anything that could put you at risk.
Libya through Gadhafi's keyhole
Behind the official smiles for the cameras some people in Libya's capital are waiting for the rebels, reports CNN's Ivan Watson.
How Arab youth found its voice
Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi not only ignited a series of revolts but heralded the first appearance of Arab youth on the stage of modern history.