Egypt Israel peace
Anwar Sadat, left, Jimmy Carter, center, and Menachem Begin on the White House lawn, after signing the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979. Photo by Archive
Text size
related tags

Nabil Elaraby, a former judge at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, accepted the post of Egyptian foreign minister on Sunday in another move that ousts Hosni Mubarak's old guard from cabinet.

Elaraby, who was also Egypt's permanent representative to the United Nations and has been serving as the director of the Regional Cairo Center for International Commercial Arbitration, replaced Ahmed Aboul Gheit who was minister since 2004.

In 2004, Israel sought the removal of Nabil Elaraby from an ICJ tribunal that debated the legality of Israel's West Bank security barrier, citing his earlier job as legal adviser to the Egyptian government. Israel's request was denied.

As a government legal adviser, Elaraby sat across from the Israelis at the negotiating table on several occasions, dating back to the successful Camp David agreements in 1978 that led to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

He was elected to the 15-member world court in October 2001 for a nine-year term.

Israel complained to the court, however, that he instigated anti-Israeli measures at the UN General Assembly while serving as an Egyptian ambassador to the UN.

The reshuffle marks the latest reforms enacted by the ruling military council, which has appeared ever more responsive to the demands of groups that rose up against Mubarak in mass protests and swept him from power on Feb. 11.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces last week appointed a prime minister with the backing of youth protest groups to replace Ahmed Shafiq, whom Mubarak appointed to the post in his last weeks in power. The new cabinet will require the approval of the council headed by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

The council has charted a course towards parliamentary and presidential elections within six months so it can hand power back to a civilian, elected government.

Essam Sharaf, the new premier, met new ministers on Sunday. "This goes a long way in satisfying the demands of the revolutionary groups," Mustapha Kamal al-Sayyid, a political scientist told Reuters.