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20:08, 26 June 2017 Monday
Update: 13:24, 26 August 2012 Sunday

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Egypt's new constitution "by late September"
Egypt's new constitution

Morsi's spokesman announced Saturday a number of presidential advisors from the around 15 that will be appointed by the president.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Egypt will have a new constitution drafted by the end of September and ready to be submitted to a nationwide referendum, the country's prime minister said Saturday.

Hisham Kandil did not specify a date for the referendum, though, according to Egypt's MENA state news agency.

The drafting of a new constitution has been a highly divisive issue in Egypt since last year's uprising that ousted longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi has said that if the 100-member panel currently drafting the document does not finish its work for whatever reason, he will appoint a new one within 15 days and give it three weeks to finish its work. The draft will then be put to a vote in a national referendum within 30 days.

Separately, Morsi's spokesman announced Saturday a number of presidential advisors from the around 15 that will be appointed by the president. The president has yet to name a vice president, but has promised to be inclusive.

Some of the names announced as advisors were a mix of opposition figures, and included women and a Coptic Christian. Among them is Egyptian journalist Sakina Fouad, who is a member of the opposition Democratic Front Party, Samir Morcos, a Coptic Christian official, and Essam al-Haddad of the Brotherhood.



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.