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Fri 4 Mar 2011 05:17 PM

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Egypt's new PM-elect addresses Tahrir Square crowds

Essam Sharaf tells thousands gathered that he would work to meet their demands

Egypt's new PM-elect addresses Tahrir Square crowds
Egyptian workers shout slogans during strike walkouts

Egypt's new Prime

Minister-designate Essam Sharaf told thousands of protesters in

Tahrir Square on Friday that he would work to meet their demands

and saluted the "martyrs" of the country's revolution.

Sharaf, a former transport minister, was appointed by

Egypt's military rulers on Thursday to replace Ahmed Shafiq, the

former air force officer who had been appointed by Hosni Mubarak

before he was toppled from the presidency on February 11.

He told the crowd he had come "to draw legitimacy" from

them. He was cheered and carried away from the podium on the

shoulders of protesters, escorted by military police.

"I salute the martyrs. Glory and respect to the families of

the victims and a special salute to everyone who took part and

gave for this white revolution," Sharaf said.

"I am here to draw my legitimacy from you. You are the ones

to whom legitimacy belongs," he said.

The protesters had been demanding the resignation of Shafiq

along with other members of government appointed by Mubarak

before he was swept from power by the mass uprising.

"I have been entrusted with a heavy mission and need

patience, will and resolve," Sharaf said.

"The mission that I am trying to realise, with all my heart,

is your goals," he said, adding that the day when he could not

realise them, he would join the protesters in the square.

"Take the oath, take the oath, take the oath," chanted the

crowd, urging Sharaf to take the oath of office in front of

them. He declined to do so.