CAIRO: Chief of Staff Sedki Sobhi is scheduled to be sworn-in as minister of defense Thursday replacing Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Youm7 reported.
Interim President Adly Mansour had promoted Sobhi on Wednesday to Colonel General, a rank usually reserved for defense ministers, state news reported.
According to Article 233 of Egypt’s constitution, the minister of defense shall be appointed upon the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. It stipulates, “The provisions of this article shall remain in force for two full presidential terms starting from the date on which this constitution comes into effect.”
He also served as the Commander of the Third Field Army.
“The Egyptian army will stay away from politics but it is carefully watching the developments on the country’s political scene,” Saudi news broadcaster Al-Arabiya reported Sobhi as saying on Feb.18, 2013, adding that “Sobhi’s remarks were less categorical than those of General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the army chief, who said on Jan. 29 that unrest was pushing the state to the brink of collapse and the army would remain the ‘solid and cohesive block’ on which the state rests.”
According to Sobhi, solutions to political crisis should be resolved with dialogue among rival political groups, Arabiya’s report added.
After the military ousted Morsi in July, Sobhi said the Armed Forces had strongly advised the former president to respond to the people’s demands and “warned that political conflict will push the country into a dark tunnel,” during a meeting with security forces, Al-Masry al-Youm reported Aug.28.
Political analysts say a general agreement within the military institution on Sedki’s strong ties to Sisi played a role in pushing him forward to the position of defense minister, according to a Thursday BBC article.