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Published: Saturday February 1, 2014 MYT 7:40:02 PM
Updated: Saturday February 1, 2014 MYT 7:40:02 PM

Egyptian PM says reshuffle to include Sisi's defence minister - report

Egypt's Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi gestures during a news conference in Abu Dhabi October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Ben Job

Egypt's Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi gestures during a news conference in Abu Dhabi October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Ben Job

CAIRO (Reuters) - Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi has said a cabinet reshuffle will include the defence ministry, an Egyptian newspaper said on Saturday, in the clearest sign yet that Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi plans to stand for president.

Army chief Sisi, now defence minister in Egypt's interim government, deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July after mass protests against his rule and is widely expected to announce his candidacy within days and win an election easily.

Before he can run for president he must step down from his government post.

The reshuffle will not be announced before a visit by Beblawi to Saudi Arabia, a major financial supporter of Egypt's interim government, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper quoted him as saying.

The reshuffle is to include the defence ministry and the ministry for international cooperation, whose head, Ziad Bahaa El-Din, tendered his resignation last Monday, according to the report.

Cabinet officials were not immediately available for comment.

Mursi, meanwhile, is facing trial on Saturday over violence outside the presidential palace during unrest in late 2012 ignited by a decree that expanded his powers. Around a dozen people were killed.

(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; editing by Andrew Roche)

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