<![CDATA[rss-Politics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Politics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Doc states Qatari emir handed 8 Al-Jazeera staff $1.85M reward]]>
Egypt Today could not verify the authenticity of the document circulated on social media. However, it was set in a professional manner that suggests it belong to the channel.

The sums of money were given as annual incentives, according to the document, to Faisal Al-Qassem, a Syrian TV host; Jamal Rayyan, a Palestinian-Jordanian newscaster; Raw’aa Ishak, a Lebanese newscaster; Ghada Owais, a Lebanese reporter and presenter; Ola Al-Fares, a Lebanese journalist and newscaster; Mahmoud Mourad, an Egyptian journalist and TV host; Wajd Waqfi, an American-Jordanian correspondent; and Othman Farah, an Eritrean TV reporter.

136130-EQ-cpIYWkAA7INx
An allegedly-leaked document dated February 12th, 2020 showed that the Emir of Qatar has granted eight of the well-known figures at the Qatari state-funded Al-Jazeera channel huge sums of money as a reward totaling $1,850,000.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar since June 2017, accusing their neighbor of funding terrorism and harboring fugitives. The four states demanded that Qatar closes Al-Jazeera channel, as part of a list of demands issued to Doha in order for relations to be restored. The boycott is believed to be led by Saudi Arabia. Since then, Egypt has blamed the Qatari channel of spreading fake news about Egypt and hosting extremist figures, mostly Egyptians, with the aim of harming national security.

These huge rewards, which were distributed on the eight figures unevenly, according to the document, come despite remarks by Egyptian TV host Mohamed Al-Baaz, where he asserted that the 23-year old channel is suffering from a severe decline in the funding.

The funding provided for Al-Jazeera totals $5 billion, including $2 billion from the state’s treasury, Baaz said. Egypt Today, however, could not verify the data about the total fund received by the channel. According to Baaz, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad decided to stop the $2 billion fund from the treasury for political reasons.

The regime found that the 23-year old channel cannot implement the regime’s plan any longer and decided that the money be given to other Qatari allies in London and Turkey, Baaz claimed, adding that the Doha-based channel will lay off 600 employees, most of which are Egyptians, as a result of this decline.

Qatari regime cuts Al-Jazeera funds, causes big layoff: Egyptian TV host

CAIRO – 16 February 2020: TV presenter Mohamed Al-Baaz, known for attacking the Turkish and Qatari regimes, during his program “90 Minutes” reported an alleged severe decline in the funding of Qatari state-funded broadcaster Al-Jazeera, citing unknown sources as saying.


]]>
2/18/2020 5:17:03 PM
<![CDATA[How successful was Egypt's leadership of the African Union?]]>
Gehan Abdel Salam, professor of African studies at Cairo University , said Egypt established an investment fund to finance IT infrastructure and support digital transformation in the continent, allowing the emergence of technology-based economies that attract investors.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Export Development Fund pays 50 percent of the shipping and transportation fees of Egyptian goods imported by African countries to reduce the cost on these countries, Abdel Salam told Egypt Today.

Five new trade offices were opened in Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Djibouti, and the Ivory Coast, enhancing trade, she added.

In the first move of its kind, a logistics center was opened in Kenya to support trade between Egypt and east Africa, and more logistics centers are planned to be opened in the upcoming period across the continent, she continued.

Moreover, Egypt signed the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement during the African Union summit in Rwanda in 2018, which was ratified and became operational at the 2019 summit in Niger.

A program that enhances Egyptian export to Africa was launched 2018 to be continued until 2020 in cooperation with five export councils: chemical industries, engineering industries, food industries, medical industries and building materials, refractories and metal industries. They constitute 80 percent of all Egyptian export to the continent.
The program also includes detailed studies of African markets.

For his part, Mohamed Mahmoud, a postgraduate researcher in African studies at Cairo University, said the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development offered many activities and training scholarships in several fields and sent medical convoys to different parts of Africa to counter Hepatitis C.

Egypt also launched an initiative to train African youth as part of the African Presidential Leadership Program and adopted an initiative to qualify one million African youths by 2021.

Mahmoud added that Egypt contributed to fining solutions for terrorism in the continent and participated in consultations resolving pending issues without foreign interference, especially in Libya and the disagreements between Somalia and Kenya, where Egypt played a mediating role.

Egypt hosted a conference for investment in Africa and worked on fixing the root problems of investment in the continent and building a vision for the African Union through ideas to develop continental infrastructure, he continued.
]]>
2/18/2020 5:14:09 PM
<![CDATA[Assistant FM, Belarus official discuss bilateral ties, regional issues]]>
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said the talks also tackled promoting cooperation in the fields of energy, modern technology and IT.

The two sides also discussed a host of regional and international issues of mutual concern, especially combating terrorism and illegal migration as well as the Libyan and Syrian crises.

They underlined the importance of continued consultations to coordinate stands vis-a-vis issues of mutual concern.

The two sides also stressed the importance of furthering bilateral cooperation as Egypt is considered a gateway to Africa, especially as the African Continental Free Trade Area has already gone into effect.]]>
2/18/2020 3:19:23 PM
<![CDATA[Muslim Brotherhood formed 13 terrorist groups in Egypt: NGO]]>
The report of the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, a non-governmental organization, openly accused Qatar and Turkey of funding the Muslim Brotherhood group designated by the Egyptian state as terrorist.

The forum described the group as the “reference group for all violent terrorist organizations in the Middle East,” saying it “adopts a discourse that incites violence, racism, hatred and exclusion of women and (people) of other religions.”

It also blamed the two countries of harboring fugitives of the outlawed group, who are wanted by the Egyptian judiciary over terrorist crimes that caused the death of many civilians and innocent people.

Among those 13 groups is an organization known as Ansar Al-Sharia Brigades in Egypt, hosting Muslim Brotherhood fugitives who fled Wadi Al-Naturn prison in Beheira, north of Cairo, in 2011, the report said, adding that this prison recruited youth and sent them to Syria.

The report mentioned the names of many other groups and gave a detailed explanation of the notorious charges they face, but failed to provide a clear proof that they all belong to the Muslim Brotherhood group, which has been labeled a terrorist organization following the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi, an MB leader, in 2013.

Since then, the state has blamed the group for all terrorist operations that took place as well as terrorist schemes that the national security authorities managed to thwart. However, the MB, as an international group, has never claimed responsibility for any terrorist attack in Egypt since the 2013 incidents and has always claimed it is a peaceful organization.

The observatory of the forum earlier in February condemned the terrorist attacks that target the security checkpoints in North Sinai, calling upon the United Nations to designate the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist body.

The forum strongly condemned the attempted terror attack on a military concentration in North Sinai, in which Brigadier Mostafa Abido was killed.

Military spokesperson Tamer al-Refaei announced on Sunday that the Egyptian Armed Forces foiled the terror attack, killing 10 terrorists and destroying a four-wheel drive vehicle. However, the fire exchange resulted in seven casualties, two officers and five soldiers.

The Egyptian forum called upon the United Nations to announce the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group as it is responsible for all the terrorist attacks that have been taking place in Sinai since June 30, 2013 Revolution.

The forum said that the MB has several terror organizations that carry out terrorist attacks under different names, affirming that some of the MB fugitive members are the masterminds behind such attacks.

The MB violates the international legitimate human rights and as a result it should be designated as a “terrorist group” globally, the forum added.]]>
2/18/2020 1:42:04 PM
<![CDATA[Belarus president: Egypt is important economic, trade partner in Middle East]]>
Lukashenko asserted that Belarusian-Egyptian relations have witnessed a big leap over the past years.

It is scheduled that Lukashenko will meet during his visit to Cairo with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi for the fourth time since 2015, terming Sisi's recent visit to Minsk as a "historic one".

He clarified that the situation in the world and the Middle East has rapidly changed and it is necessary to cope up with the latest developments.

He also pointed out that his country is working through its embassy in Cairo to foster its relations in North Africa and beyond.

Lukashenko said trade exchange between the two countries recorded a growth of 131 percent to hit $140 million in the past year, adding that they are seeking to beef up relations in the fields of science, technology and education.

He added that there is strong cooperation between the two countries in the scientific, economic, trade and cultural fields.

The Belarus president also praised Sisi's initiatives launched during the World Youth Forum in December, noting that such initiatives have helped in enhancing interaction with youths at the international level with the aim of realizing a real success in achieving peaceful coexistence and fulfilling the sustainable development goals.

He also praised President Sisi's efforts during his presidency of the African Union and his active work on enhancing cooperation among African states as well as interaction between Africa and other world countries, asserting that Egypt is a pioneering country in the continent.

He added that Egypt, during its presidency of the African Union last year, has succeeded in enhancing its international position and expanding its relations with African states, citing its well-organized events about Africa; such as Aswan Forum for Peace and Security as well as the World Youth Forum which has become a landmark on the road of integration in the region.

The Belarus president also highlighted Egypt's efforts in fighting terrorism, voicing his readiness to support Egyptians and share with them all advanced technologies. He also noted that Egypt enjoys a fast growing economy and has one of the strongest armies in Africa.

In June 2019, President al-Sisi held talks with Belarusian President in the Belarusian capital Minsk, where the two presidents signed a joint declaration to strengthen relations in various fields, according to a statement released by spokesperson Bassam Rady.

Sisi and Lukashenko witnessed the signing ceremony for several Memorandums of understanding (MoU) for the establishment of the Belarusian-Egyptian Business Council, which aims to boost trade and investment relations.

He noted that further promotion of cooperation in tourism and energy fields was reviewed during the talks.

The two leaders agreed to establish an accredited Egyptian diplomatic representation in Minsk, similar to the Belarus Embassy in Cairo, reflecting the growing momentum between the two sides and in the framework of supporting political and diplomatic relations.
]]>
2/18/2020 12:58:30 PM
<![CDATA[Mauritania reviews existing cooperation with Egypt: Media]]>
Mauritania’s Finance Minister Mohamed Al-Amin Ould Al-Thahabi and Egypt’s ambassador to Mauritania Ahmed Salama reviewed existing cooperation between the two countries, Mauritanian radio reported on Monday, without providing further details.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, in 2018, discussed with his Mauritanian counterpart at the time Yahya Ould Hademine ways to promote common cooperation between the two countries.

Madbouly arrived to Mauritania’s Nouakchott to participate in the African Summit on the behalf of the President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

In the same context, presidential spokesman Bassam Rady told MENA that Egypt is keen on enhancing its relations with African countries as President Sisi placed the Egyptian-African ties among the top priorities of the foreign relations’ files and focused on the continent’s issues in most of his activities since assuming power in 2014.

He added that the file aims to intensify meeting with African leaders and visiting several African countries besides participating in the African summits, pointing out that such efforts resulted in promoting Egypt’s ties with African countries.

Also, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was received by Egyptian Ambassador to Mauritania the same year.

Sisi’s several visits to the African countries since coming to power are considered to be a move which helped to spur Egyptian-African trade exchanges, investments, economic partnership and cooperation in various sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, vocational training, banking, mining and human development.

In June 2014, Sisi participated in the African Union Summit in the Equatorial Guinea as his first presidential visit within the continent, which was considered then a restoration of the African-Egyptian relations after years of neglect during Mubarak’s era.

Several short visits during 2015 followed the African Union Summit participation, including visits to Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda per Yuri Museveni's invitation in December 2016.

African Affairs Committee member in the Egyptian Parliament, Hatem Bashat, told Egypt Today that it is true that the African-Egyptian relations were forgotten for a while, however “since Sisi took office, he started a new strategy aiming to restore our role within the continent.”

“This tour is a reflection of the Egyptian diplomacy with our African neighbors since 2014; we have strong points in our relations and long history to relay on,” Bashat further explained.

He added that Sisi has a fixed strategy during dealing with the African countries, “for example, with Rwanda, we are keen to develop investments; with Tanzania we discuss the water security files; while Chad is considered one of the crucial countries for our national security,” Bashat told Egypt Today.


MENA contributed to the reporting]]>
2/18/2020 12:33:59 PM
<![CDATA[Arab expert meeting on competition kicks off at AL]]>
The draft law has been outlined after a thorough revision of more than 20 competition laws inside and outside the Arab world, said Bahgat Abul Nasr, director of the economic integration department at the AL, Monday.

The bill aims to enhance trade exchange through solving problems that hinder internal trade movement in all Arab countries, he added.

Abul Nasr made it clear that the issue of increased production mainly hinges on competition, noting that this is accordingly reflected on improved inter-Arab trade and development. ]]>
2/17/2020 3:35:59 PM
<![CDATA[Prisons sector okays transfer of 21 inmates to prisons nearer to families]]>
The move falls within the framework of the prions sector's keenness on applying the modern punishment philosophy and maintaining the psychological and social stability of the prisoners, who are being prepared to reintegrate within the society after serving their sentences.

It also falls within the framework of the Interior Ministry's policies that attach greater significance to the humanitarian and social aspects. ]]>
2/17/2020 3:31:06 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Colombia discuss boosting bilateral ties]]>
This comes as part of a political consultations session that tackled means to promote bilateral cooperation in numerous political, economic and cultural fields including trade, investment, agriculture, education and tourism in addition to combating terror and corruption.

During the consultations, the Egyptian side reviewed the recent positive economic indicators and the promising investment opportunities available in Egypt.

Both sides discussed a set of proposed memorandums of understanding covering a wide range of areas.

They agreed on boosting the volume of trade and investment to be commensurate with the two countries' economic potentials and exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. ]]>
2/17/2020 1:44:23 PM
<![CDATA[Attorney General orders imprisonment of 20 suspects in money laundering case ]]>
The prosecutor ordered the seizure of all the properties of the defendants.

The defendants are accused of opening and managing a group of financial accounts at Morsi Matruh Post Office, and receiving deposits and transfers estimated at about LE1.750 billion, most of which were deposited by seven people from the governorates of Upper Egypt.

These accounts were opened and managed by five employees at Matrouh Post Office, in exchange for large commissions paid every withdrawal.



Investigations revealed that among the accounts used for money laundering is an account in the name of a dead person; in addition, one of the employees involved his father in the case by opening and managing an account in his name without his father's knowledge.

Egypt established the Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit in 2002 under the Anti-Money Laundering Law No. 80 of 2002. The unit’s job is to combat money laundering and terrorist financing activities in Egypt.

The unit aims to improve anti-money laundering/terrorist financing combating systems that have been implemented by financial institutions and others operating in Egypt. Their job is to prevent exploitation of the funds generated by criminal activities or the financing of terrorist activities. The unit's main function is to receive, analyze, and distribute the STRs received from financial institutions and non-financial businesses and professions.]]>
2/16/2020 4:14:51 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry probes with his Danish counterpart bilateral relations, regional issues]]>
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said in a statement to the press, Shoukry hailed during the meeting the tangible development in Egyptian-Danish relations at all levels and existing coordination between the two countries to face challenges topped by terrorism and illegal migration.

During the meeting, the two sides stressed the importance of developing cooperation, especially in the clean energy and new and renewable energy domains.

For his part, the Danish foreign minister hailed Egypt Vision 2030 for sustainable development, said the spokesman, adding the two ministers reviewed regional issues including the Egyptian Middle East policy as well as the developments of the Palestinian issue and the Libyan crisis.]]>
2/16/2020 4:01:14 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian, Iraqi FMs discuss security, intelligence cooperation]]>
Both ministers asserted the necessity of strengthening bilateral relations by exchanging visits, coordinating stances, and mutually supporting candidates from each country to hold regional and international positions.

Shokr and al-Hakim also agreed to sign a number of memoranda of understanding as soon as possible.

Shokry had also met on Saturday with Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar as they discussed economic relations, and coordination over regional and international affairs of mutual interest.

IMG_3465
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry (l) and Slovenia counterpart Miro Cerar in a meeting on the sidelines of Munich Security Conference 2020 on February 15, 2020. Press Photo
]]>
2/16/2020 3:02:00 PM
<![CDATA[Qatari regime cuts Al-Jazeera funds, causes big layoff: Egyptian TV host]]>
A decline in the funding of the Doha-based Al-Jazeera, which Egypt has accused of promoting terrorism and hostile approaches against the Egyptian state, forced the channel to lay off 600 employees, most of which are Egyptians, Baaz said, adding that the laid-off employees will leave the channel before June.

The funding provided for Al-Jazeera totals $5 billion, including $2 billion from the state’s treasury, Baaz said. Egypt Today, however, could not verify the data about the total fund received by the channel. According to Baaz, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad decided to stop the $2 billion fund from the treasury for political reasons.



The regime found that the 23-year old channel cannot implement the regime’s plan any longer and decided that the money be given to other Qatari allies in London and Turkey, Baaz said.

This sharp decline in the funding has affected the channel’s work in different situations, Baaz asserted. First, a TV program named Ala Defaf Al-Nile (On the Banks of the Nile), was set to be launched with the aim of incitement against Egypt but was cancelled, he said. It was set to be broadcast by Mahmoud Murad, an Egyptian political journalist who has worked for Al-Jazeera since 2010.

Second Sami Al-Hajj, a Sudanese journalist in Al-Jazeera, has introduced a plan to upgrade a Qatari unit for public freedoms and human rights but was declined due to shortage of funds, according to Baaz.

Third, Al-Jazeera stopped to produce documentary films that seek to distort the image of the Egyptian national army, especially after Egypt released Al-Mamar (The Passage) movie in 2019, a drama film, which displays turning points and decisive battles in the history of the Egyptian army. According to Baaz, the film has thwarted the Qatari smear campaign against the army as it has boosted the morale of the Egyptian people.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar since June 2017, accusing their neighbor of funding terrorism and harboring fugitives. The four states demanded that Qatar closes Al-Jazeera channel, as part of a list of demands issued to Doha in order for relations to be restored. The boycott is believed to be led by Saudi Arabia. Since then, Egypt has blamed the Qatari channel of spreading fake news about Egypt and hosting extremist figures, mostly Egyptians, with the aim of harming national security.]]>
2/16/2020 2:05:31 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry stresses importance of focusing on restoring legitimacy of Libyan institutions]]>
Shoukry's remarks came during his participation in a ministerial meeting of the international follow-up committee which is an offshoot of the Berlin Conference on Libya.

The meeting was held on the fringe of the Munich Security Conference.

According to a statement to the press by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez, the minister warned of attempts by certain groups to control the situation in Libya, noting that this required confronting such parties that get a boon from maintaining conflicts.

He cautioned that such parties are trying to subvert efforts meant to reach a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis to end the Libyan people's suffering.

During the meeting, Shoukri stressed Egypt's firm stand on the importance of settling the Libyan crisis via a political solution that would pave the ground to restore security and stability. ]]>
2/16/2020 2:05:14 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt demands allocating 2 seats for Africa in Security Council ]]>
This came during the plenary session of the UN General Assembly on equitable representation in the Security Council, which was widely attended and aimed at the council’s reform and expansion, according to the statement released by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry on Friday.



Idris expressed Egypt's adherence to the implementation of the African position represented in the Ezulwini Consensus which included this demand. Idris’s demand also came in light of what was agreed upon during the last African Summit in Addis Ababa under the Egyptian presidency.

Idris has indicated that the negotiations to reform and expand the Security Council in 2019 coincide with the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations.

Idris called for the necessity of the solidarity of the member states of the United Nations on the principles of reform and justice, to confront the current imbalance in the Security Council and to give the African continent a worthy role in making international decisions.]]>
2/16/2020 1:54:33 PM
<![CDATA[House speaker slams European Parl't statement on detained citizen]]>
He regarded these statements as unacceptable interference in Egyptian domestic affairs, as well as an explicit assault against the Egyptian judicial authority and justice procedures.

In his statement, Dr. Abdel Aal added that such unjustified and unacceptable statements do not encourage any expected dialogue between the two parliamentary institutions.

He also condemned the European Parliament’s jump to conclusions and infringement of the authority of the independent Egyptian Public Prosecution, adding that it is surprising that the content of these statements urges implicitly for not applying the law to anyone who commits a crime in contradiction with the European side’s continuous call for respecting the rule of law.

He further expressed his regret that the President of the European Parliament relied in his statement on false and inaccurate information that are not based on clear evidence and released by politicized organizations that lack credibility.

Moreover, he pointed out that Egypt had previously repeatedly announced its categorical rejection of the allegations of those malicious organizations that have interest in defaming Egypt.

He added that, by following up the situation of the aforementioned citizen, it was found that judicial measures had been taken against him by the Public Prosecutor in September 2019 in incidents that constitute crimes in the Egyptian penal laws, and that he was arrested on February 8, 2020 on his arrival in the country coming from Italy in pursuant to a judicial warrant.

All constitutional and legal due process and guarantees had been fully secured and the Public Prosecution took its decision against him according to its empowered authorities.

The Speaker of Parliament stressed that the aforementioned accused enjoys his full rights, like others arrested, without discrimination, recalling the respect of the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of States, the principle of the independence of the judiciary and non-interference in justice, the need for full accuracy before making accusations arbitrarily, and addressing issues from a comprehensive perspective that includes the concrete steps that are being taken in the field of promoting freedoms and human rights in the country.]]>
2/16/2020 11:09:53 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry, German adviser discuss ways of resolving ME crises]]>
On the fringe of his participation in the 56th Munich Security Conference, Shourky said that Egypt gives priority to boosting relations with Germany, stressing the importance of continuing coordination on various issues of common interest.

The foreign minister affirmed the necessity of implementing the outcomes of the Berlin Conference on Libya, adding that any foreign interference in Libya's domestic affairs is totally rejected.]]>
2/15/2020 3:56:54 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, the Netherlands tackle relations, regional issues]]>
On the sidelines of his participation in the 56th Munich Security Conference, Shourky praised the deeply-rooted ties between Cairo and Amsterdam, affirming the importance of increasing the Dutch investments in Egypt in different sectors.

Egypt is looking forward to further coordination and consultation with the Netherlands to boost bilateral ties and exchange visions about issues of common interest, Shourky said.

The Egyptian foreign minister reviewed the country's vision towards the Palestinian and Libyan crises.]]>
2/15/2020 3:46:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s FM expects ‘final and fair’ deal on GERD]]>
Shoukry added that the expected final deal, which comes under the brokerage of the United States of America, and the World Bank, will serve the interests of the three Nile basin countries, noting that both Egypt and Sudan [the downstream countries] showed identical stances concerning some issues of the dam.

The Foreign Minister voiced his confidence that the US role and its relations with the three countries will lead to a balanced and fair deal.

Following the final round of the meetings between the countries and the US and the WB representatives in Washington D.C.on February 12-13, 2020, the participants issued a communique saying that the negotiations achieved a concrete development and a final deal will be signed late February 2020.

Egypt expressed its deep appreciation to the US Treasury's role and US President Donald Trump's efforts and the WB role in reaching this "comprehensive agreement that realizes the interests of the three countries and lays the foundations for cooperation and integration between them, thus benefiting the entire region," said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement on Friday morning.

The agreement "includes the dam’s stage-based filling plan, and specific procedures to deal with droughts, prolonged droughts, and dry years that may coincide with the filling process, in addition to the long-term operationalization rules, including the GERD operationalization under normal hydrological conditions, as well as procedures for dealing with droughts, prolonged droughts, and dry years," Hafez said.

"Negotiations also tackled the coordination mechanism between the three countries, which will undertake the follow-up to the implementation of the agreement on the GERD filling and operationalization, and clauses determining the technical data and information to be circulated in order to verify the implementation of the agreement, as well as provisions related to the dam’s safety and dealing with emergency situations, as well as a binding mechanism to resolve any disputes that may arise regarding the interpretation or implementation of this agreement," he added.

The difference between the three Nile basin countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.

Additional reporting by Samar Samir]]>
2/15/2020 12:04:48 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s FM heads to Germany for MSC]]>
The MSC focuses on the future of the European Union, and the challenges and crises that took place on regional and international arenas.

Minister Shoukry will participate in several sessions and events on the sidelines of the conference, shedding light on the Egyptian vision on how to deal with various regional and international issues, Hafez added.

The Foreign Minister will also hold talks with a large number of officials participating in the conference to discuss ways to enhance cooperation and relations on the issues of mutual concern.

Hafez affirmed Egypt’s keenness to participate in the MSC as it is one of the important international forums that care about international peace and security.]]>
2/15/2020 12:03:38 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian speaker slams Sassoli’s call for detained researcher's release]]>
Abdel Aal, in an official statement circulated by local media on Friday, called David Sassoli’s remarks unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Egypt and an abuse of the Egyptian judicial authority and justice procedures.

The speaker said such “unjustifiable and unacceptable” remarks of Sassoli discourage dialogue between the two parliamentary institutions, and described the comments as gun jumping.

Abdel Aaal said it is shocking that the content of Sassoli’s remarks encourages not applying the law to anyone who commits a crime, in contradiction with the European side’s continuous call for respecting law.

He also expressed his regret that the president of the European Parliament relied, in his statement, on incorrect information that are not based on clear evidence and that are provided by politicized organizations that lack credibility.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry on Sunday said Patrick George, a researcher in an Italian university who was arrested in the Cairo International Airport, is an Egyptian citizen, denying earlier reports that he is an Italian national.

Patrick George Zaky Seliman is his full name, the Interior Ministry said on its Facebook page, adding that the prosecution decided to detain him for 15 days pending investigation.

Patrick is a researcher in the University of Bologna, in northern Italy. The Italian authorities have reportedly called for releasing him, but did not claim he is an Italian citizen.

Preliminary investigations reveal that Patrick faces accusations of spreading false news and statements to distort social peace, inciting people to protest without obtaining a permit, seeking to overthrow the regime through incitement and promoting principles and thoughts that lead to changing the basic principles of the constitution, according to media reports.

He also faces charges of managing and using an online account for the purpose of disturbing public order, harming national security and promoting the commission of a terrorist crime and the use of violence.]]>
2/14/2020 11:51:47 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwait key partner in int'l issues, fighting terrorism, says Kuwait's PM]]>
In statements broadcast by state news agency KUNA after his arrival in Munich, the Kuwaiti premier said his country's neutral political views under the leadership of Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah have helped it become a key partner in resolving international issues and fighting terrorism.

He also spoke of Kuwait's prominent humanitarian efforts to ease the suffering of those in need around the world, which were recognized by the UN, granting the Kuwaiti emir the "Humanitarian Leader" title.

Kuwait exerted great efforts to resolve regional and international issues during its non-permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2018-2019, the Kuwaiti prime minister said.

The country also played a big role in international events, during its chairmanship of UNSC in February 2018 and June 2019, he added.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Sabah noted that the conference is a great opportunity for countries to share experience and views on tackling different challenges, especially in the Middle East region.

He said the conference is not only an event to discuss security issues, but also a platform to resolve regional conflicts and boost economic and commercial ties between participants.

The Munich Security Conference is slated for February 14-16. It would group 135 heads of State, governments, ministers of foreign and defense affairs in addition to prominent figures representing international and civil society organizations]]>
2/14/2020 2:38:10 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Netherlands discuss ways to boost bilateral ties, investment]]>
The consultations were chaired by Ambassador Badr Abdel-Aty, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Affairs, and the Secretary General of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, Jock Brandt. Also Laurens Westhoff, the ambassador of the Netherlands in Cairo; deputy assistant foreign minister for Western Europe affairs; deputy assistant foreign minister for Western and Central Asian affairs; as well as Nile Water and terrorism officials attended the meeting.

The two sides during the meeting have discussed cooperation in trade, investment, agriculture, maritime transport, food processing, water management, and vocational education.

They reviewed the positive indicators of the Egyptian economy recently, as well as promising opportunities for investment in the North African country, especially in the Suez Canal economic zone and the major projects implemented by the Egyptian state.

In this regard, the two sides agreed to continue to work to enhance the volume of trade and investments, as the trade exchange between them has amounted to 1.7 billion euros in 2018. Dutch investments in Egypt amounted to 3.2 billion euros by the end of 2018, the statement added.

For its part, the Dutch side affirmed keenness to develop and deepen bilateral cooperation with Egypt at all political, commercial, investment and cultural levels, expressing appreciation for the Egyptian efforts in curbing illegal immigration, especially since Egypt has succeeded in preventing the infiltration of any illegal immigration boats across its coasts since September 2016.

The Dutch side was keen to get acquainted with the Egyptian vision of the overall situation in the Middle East, including developments in Libya and Syria, the ministry said, adding that the Dutch side expressed its support for Egypt's efforts to work to achieve stability in the area.

The two sides stressed the importance of continuing to develop relations between Egypt and the Netherlands to serve the interests of both countries.

n1

n2

n4
]]>
2/14/2020 1:11:04 PM
<![CDATA['Comprehensive agreement' on Ethiopia's controversial dam to be signed late February]]>
Following the final round of the meetings between the countries and the US and the WB representatives in Washington D.C.on February 12-13, 2020, the participants issued a communique saying that the negotiations achieved a concrete development.

"The Ministers reviewed the progress achieved by their technical and legal teams and continued their discussions on the remaining issues necessary for a final agreement. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of trans-boundary cooperation in the development of the Blue Nile to improve the lives of the people of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, and their shared commitment to concluding an agreement," the statement by the U.S. Department of Treasury said.

Egypt expressed its deep appreciation to the US Treasury's role and US President Donald Trump's efforts and the WB role in reaching this "comprehensive agreement that realizes the interests of the three countries and lays the foundations for cooperation and integration between them, thus benefiting the entire region," said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement on Friday morning.

The agreement "includes the dam’s stage-based filling plan, and specific procedures to deal with droughts, prolonged droughts, and dry years that may coincide with the filling process, in addition to the long-term operationalization rules, including the GERD operationalization under normal hydrological conditions, as well as procedures for dealing with droughts, prolonged droughts, and dry years," Hafez said.

"Negotiations also tackled the coordination mechanism between the three countries, which will undertake the follow-up to the implementation of the agreement on the GERD filling and operationalization, and clauses determining the technical data and information to be circulated in order to verify the implementation of the agreement, as well as provisions related to the dam’s safety and dealing with emergency situations, as well as a binding mechanism to resolve any disputes that may arise regarding the interpretation or implementation of this agreement," he added.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry traveled to the U.S. on Monday to participate in talks with the foreign and irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan over GERD in a final bid to resolve months of stalemates between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the operation of the mega-dam.

The meetings came under an agreement by the parties to reconvene in Washington this month.

The spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed al-Sebaie has said this round firmly focused on reaching solutions that satisfy the three parties, indicating that it was agreed to set a timetable for filling the dam, especially the procedures followed in the drought years.

The spokesman added that the final agreement included rules on filling the dam as well as dealing with droughts, the main part that secures Egypt and a safe operating of the dam to preserve the rights of the downstream countries.

He affirmed that the agreement also included other elements, such as conflict resolution, through the presence of a mechanism to deal firmly with issues binding all parties, and also by setting up a mitigation mechanism for the annual and long-term operation of the dam during droughts.

He finally pointed out that Egypt depends on around 98 percent of the Nile's water, and any slight defect will negatively affect the country, stressing that the dam should be managed jointly so that Egypt can guarantee its share of the water.

On Friday, during the 36th session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Shoukry discussed with his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor the latest development of tripartite consultation on the GERD.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister reviewed the current situation and Egypt’s positive engagement and its good faith in the negotiation to reach a fair agreement on filling and operating the dam, so that it would achieve Ethiopia's development goals without causing harm to Egypt's water interests, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahemd Hafez in a statement last week.

The difference between the three Nile basin countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.

Additional reporting by

Samar Samir


]]>
2/14/2020 9:26:36 AM
<![CDATA[Sweden halved road deaths by ‘Vision Zero,’ ready to cooperate with Egypt: Amb.]]>
Egypt embarked on an extensive local program that included: toughening punishment on traffic violators, building new road networks, renovating bridges and launching drug-driving tests.

Seeking experience and knowledge exchanging with other countries, especially those have successful models to follow, has been a key factor in the Egypt’s development process. Speaking about road safety, Sweden developed an ambitious initiative in 1995, with the aim to eliminate accidents on Swedish roads, called “Vision Zero.”

40124-sami-121
Swedish Ambassador in Cairo Jan Thesleff - Samy Wahib/ Egypt Today


Egypt Today discussed the Swedish Ambassador in Cairo Jan Thesleff “Vision Zero,” the the possibility of adopting a similar approach to Egypt’s road safety plan and the global conference on road safety set to take place Feb. 19-20 in Stockholm.


Below is the interview:


ET: Would you tell us about Vision Zero that influenced many countries, and what achievements Sweden made under its umbrella?

Thesleff: Vision Zero is an initiative that the Swedish government launched in 1995, where all stakeholders are brought together with the joint vision that no individual should die or be seriously injured on Swedish roads.

And like all good ideas this one travelled fast. Just three years later the Parliament passed a Road Traffic Safety Bill in 1997 that put the Vision Zero into the Swedish law. The bill sets an ultimate target of no deaths or serious injuries on Sweden’s roads, and it is not satisfied with merely reducing accidents to an economically manageable level. Sweden has since modelled its road safety reform strategy on the Vision Zero approach.

This initiative has been highly successful in generating ambitious innovation and effort from both the public sector and the business community, grounded in the underlying simple fact that we are human and make mistakes. Sweden's Vision Zero has inspired road safety interventions in several other countries, sometimes also called sustainable safety (NL) or Safe System Approach (OECD). The first off, the mark were our Nordic neighbors. In 2014, New York adopted its own Vision Zero which has led to good results. Since then, another twenty cities in the USA have followed suit.

A formalized vision zero initiative in the middle east is being organized by business Sweden focusing on Oman, Kuwait and Qatar during Q4 20.


ET: What is a remarkable step that is taken by Sweden with regard to road safety and vehicles, or experience that Sweden would share with Egypt to cooperate in improving the status of roads in the country?

Thesleff: Sweden has been successful in moving from vision to action. Sweden world- leading when it comes to minimizing serious traffic accidents. For just over two decades different stakeholders in Sweden have been proactively working towards the goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries on the roads.

Vision Zero has had a huge impact on the work to improve road safety. Both the working methods used, and the choice of interventions have been improved. Collaboration in networks, governance by objectives and user governance have made things happen.

And now we can say that the work has yielded results. When Vision Zero was adopted by the Swedish Parliament, the number of fatalities caused by road accidents was 7 per 100,000 inhabitants. At that time, this was a low figure in a global perspective, and many people were skeptical about it being possible to reduce the figure even further. Since then, the number of traffic fatalities in Sweden has been more than halved, at the same time as the volume of traffic has increased dramatically.

Historically, traffic safety work has been focused on management by rules. In the work on realizing Vision Zero, management by rules still exists, but occupies less space than in the past. New measures and new approaches have been introduced, in which networking with all related entities and management by objectives are fundamental approaches.

For example, many roads have been equipped with a central barrier to prevent head-on accidents; the police can control the speed of cars with cameras; many four-road junctions have been replaced with roundabouts; the automotive industry is investing in safer cars, buses and safety enhancing equipment (e.g. traffic cameras and traffic monitoring systems); and when the traffic environment in urban areas is designed, the focus is on vulnerable road-users.

In order to spread information and experience on the approach, vision zero academy have initiated a week-long international course. It is held in Sweden every September. The course is targeted for a broad audience, as everyone who works in practice with traffic safety issues in various agencies such as government authorities, industry, municipalities, NGOs and academia. It is also highly relevant for experts within UN authorities, development banks, and other international organizations.

The course lecturers are Swedish Transport Administration experts in their respective fields, as well as guest lecturers from other authorities, municipalities, academies and industry.

6692703757_aa54890d50_b
Swedish roads - CC via Flickr


ET- In November, you held a meeting with the Egyptian Transport Minister, where you discussed ways of cooperation in road safety. What did you agree upon during the workshop?

Thesleff: When it comes to public transportation, we know that many countries are suffering from overcrowded roads, and also to foster safe environment for people, and we believe that there is a lot that we can learn from you, and you learn from us.

During the meeting, we talked about finding smooth transport solutions, and you are building a very impressive metro system in Cairo, and there are other ways to ease traffic problems like the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems for buses, and measures to reduce speed. I was happy to discuss with our Egyptian partners ways of educating people and children about traffic risks.

Road safety is a sign for caring about people. All of us depend on transportation, and it is not something that will go away. I feel a very strong engagement from our Egyptian partners and people here are very responsive for this, and I believe Egypt and Sweden would make important partners in this regard.

Both Sweden and Egypt, share a common agenda when it comes to making transport systems more effective and safer. Sweden has a long experience of public transportation and road safety and we have learned that impactful change only can be achieved through a systemic approach including many different components and dimensions. Successful change doesn’t happen overnight nor via single measure implemented in isolation and with that said we are confident that we will have many exciting joint initiatives together.


ET: Egypt is aiming to enhance its post-crash emergency care, especially on highways, does Sweden has a vision regarding this matter, and how can it help Egypt in this regard?

Thesleff: Since 2016, an agreement has been reached between the Swedish Transport Administration and the Police on cooperation in the field of road safety.

The Swedish Transport Administration and the Police are equal partners in this cooperation and must consider each other's assignments and priorities as the respective authorities do. The purpose of the agreement is to work together to achieve increased road safety and thereby contribute to a reduced number of dead and seriously injured as well as increased safety in the road traffic environment.

Examples of areas of this cooperation includes, speed compliance, joint information efforts, sober traffic, in-depth studies of fatal traffic accident and Occupational traffic; this agreement was signed by the Chief of Police and the Directorate-General of the Swedish Transport Administration and is followed up at annual meetings between them.


ET: According to WHO reports, the goal set to reduce road accidents worldwide by 50% until 2020 was not achieved. In your opinion, are we going to see a new decade of action set during this year's conference?

Thesleff: I think this year we would acknowledge the lessons learnt from the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 such as the need to promote an integrated approach to road safety including safe system approach and Vision Zero, pursue long-term and sustainable safety solutions, strengthen national inter-sectoral collaboration including engagement with NGOs and civil society as well as businesses and industry which contribute to and influence the social and economic development of countries.

]]>
2/14/2020 3:54:39 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s NGO calls on UN to designate MB as terrorist group]]>
The forum strongly condemned the attempted terror attack on a military concentration in North Sinai, in which Brigadier Mostafa Abido was killed.

Military spokesperson Tamer al-Refaei announced on Sunday that the Egyptian Armed Forces foiled the terror attack, killing 10 terrorists and destroying a four-wheel drive vehicle. However, the fire exchange resulted in seven casualties, two officers and five soldiers.

The Egyptian forum called upon the United Nations to announce the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group as it is responsible for all the terrorist attacks that have been taking place in Sinai since June 30, 2013 Revolution.

The forum said that the MB has several terror organizations that carry out terrorist attacks under different names, affirming that some of the MB fugitive members are the masterminds behind such attacks.

The MB violates the international legitimate human rights and as a result it should be designated as a “terrorist group” globally.

The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood is the reference for all terrorist groups around the globe as it incites violence and religious discrimination, the forum said, continuing that despite its terrorist acts, some countries, like Qatar and Turkey, support its members.

One of the terrorist groups, affiliated to the outlawed Muslim brotherhood, is Ajnad Misr, which had caused many human and material losses in the years 2013 and 2014 in Greater Cairo.

The Muslim Brotherhood youth constitute the main part of it. Those youths used to lead the brotherhood battles with the police in the streets of Al Haram, Ein Shams, and Al-Alf Maskan neighborhoods.

Since the ousting of late President Mohamed Morsi, who was also a leader at the Muslim Brotherhood "terrorist" group, the Egyptian judiciary has placed hundreds of Egyptian citizens and entities on the terror list.

According to the act on the regulation of the lists of terrorist entities and persons issued in 2015, the inclusion of any group or person on these lists is automatically followed by the seizure of their funds and the issuance of travel bans. In case those designated as terrorists are abroad, they are placed on the country's watch list.


]]>
2/13/2020 4:51:30 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt presides over G5 Sahel chiefs of staff meeting]]>
The G5 Sahel - encompassing Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso - was formed in 2014 as an institutional framework for coordination of regional cooperation in development policies and security matters in West Africa.

The chiefs of staff exchanged views on the security status of Sahel zone and means of reinforcing military cooperation and continuous coordination over matters of mutual interest. The Egyptian delegation presented the country’s vision on the capacity building of the G5 Sahel member states, and proposed offering training for the military personnel of those countries.

2
Egyptian Chief of Staff Mohamed Farid and G5 Sahel chiefs of staff in a meeting in Cairo on February 9-11, 2020. Press Photo


Farid asserted that continuous training and qualification of the Armed Forces of Sahel countries is a must in the face of cross-border threats composed by extremist groups. He added that developmental initiatives in marginalized areas must be fostered to ensure regional stability and inhibit extremist groups from recruiting new elements.

The Egyptian chief of staff congratulated the participants on the success of the 33rd African Union (AU) Summit previously held in Addis Ababa, where Egypt handed over the chairmanship to South Africa, and key continental matters were discussed like the Libyan crisis.

Egypt won by a majority of votes in the first round the membership of the African Peace and Security Council for 2020-2022. Also, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi expressed Egypt’s readiness to host an African Summit to confer about establishing an African counterterrorism joint force. In that context, Farid affirmed that the Egyptian Armed Forces pursue a state-level strategy that supports all African causes.

The chief of staff delivered the greetings of President Sisi and Minister of Defense and Military production Mohamed Zaki.
]]>
2/13/2020 2:04:32 PM
<![CDATA[China urges earnest implementation of outcome of Berlin conf. on Libya]]>
The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2510 with 14 votes in favor to endorse the Berlin outcome.

Russia was the only member that did not vote in favor. It abstained.

China hopes that all parties in Libya, relevant regional countries, as well as the international community, will work together for the earnest implementation of the Berlin outcome, said Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, after the vote.

In this process, the UN Secretariat should develop an actionable plan that fully reflects the leadership and ownership by the Libyans, accommodates the concerns of all parties, and leverages the positive role of the countries concerned, said Wu.

China supports the African Union and the League of Arab States in bringing their unique influence on the political settlement of the Libya question and working in synergy with the United Nations, he said.

In implementing the outcome of the Berlin Conference and the Security Council resolution, the international community should remain highly vigilant against terrorism in and around Libya, resolutely combat all forms of terrorism in the country, and prevent the cross-border movement of foreign terrorist fighters. Libya should not be allowed to become the breeding ground for terrorism, the spread of which can jeopardize the country's peace process, said Wu.

China supports the continued leading role of the United Nations in promoting the Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process, and calls on all parties to the Libyan conflict to achieve a lasting ceasefire as soon as possible, he said.

The Security Council's endorsement of the Berlin outcome will contribute to an early peaceful settlement of the Libyan question, he said. ]]>
2/13/2020 12:32:29 PM
<![CDATA[French senator hails Sisi’s local, foreign efforts to achieve stability]]>
Morin-Desailly, who headed a delegation from the French-Egyptian Friendship Group in the Senate, praised the president’s efforts on the foreign level, amid a disturbed regional situation around Egypt, saying such efforts have contributed to making Egypt a pillar of stability, security and stability in the Middle East and Africa.

She voiced France’s support to the efforts of the Egyptian president and state, according to the Presidency’s statement.

Sisi praised the continuous development of Egyptian-French relations and the growing coordination between the two countries in various fields. He also hailed parliamentary cooperation with France.

During the meeting, the president reviewed Egyptian efforts made to counter extremism thought and establish the culture of accepting others and adopting freedom of belief. He affirmed the need to fix religious misconceptions to prevent exploiting them to achieve political goals.

Concerning parliamentary affairs, Sisi referred to the significant role of the Egyptian women in the parliament and their active participation in parliamentary activities as well as in executive and leadership roles.

f2

Morin-Desailly, in 2017, said that Egypt is a great and promising country that France needs to cooperate with for achieving stability in the Middle East.

In an interview with Osama Kamal on DMC channel, Morin-Desailly said that Egyptian-French relations are based on trust and mutual understanding. Paris can support Egypt in overcoming challenges and achieving economic reforms, Morin-Desailly added.

Concerning the terrorist attacks Egypt and France have been suffering from during the past few years, Morin-Desailly said; “Terrorism causes us to live in a state of emergency, but this should not affect individuals’ freedoms.”]]>
2/13/2020 12:24:45 PM
<![CDATA[Abbas reiterates rejection of Trump’s peace plan]]>
“This deal carries within it dictates, reinforcement of the occupation, annexation by military force and anchoring of an apartheid system,” Abbas told a news conference he held jointly with former Israeli premier Ehud Olmert on the sidelines of a UN Security Council meeting in New York.

Abbas also said Tuesday he was prepared to launch negotiations with Israel under the patronage of the Quartet, made-up of the US, Russia, the UN and the European Union, and on the basis of international resolutions, if Israel showed it was a partner for peace.

“I am serious about what I say. I am prepared to stay here in the headquarters of international legitimacy to begin these negotiations immediately,” he said.
Abbas also said the Palestinians would not “resort to violence and terrorism regardless of the act of aggression against us.”

“We believe in peace and fighting violence,” he said. “We will fight by way of popular, peaceful resistance.”

Abbas “is a man of peace. He is opposed to terror. And therefore he is the only partner that we can deal with,” Olmert, who was seated beside the Palestinian leader, told reporters.

“I think that there is a partner,” Olmert reiterated as quoted by The Times of Israel, calling Abbas “the only partner in the Palestinian community that represents the Palestinian people, and that has manifested that he is prepared to negotiate.”

The former Israeli premier insisted that in the end, peace could only come from direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Trump’s plan “is aimed at eventually making peace between Israel and the Palestinians. So we have to negotiate with the Palestinians. Who will we negotiate with?” Olmert asked.]]>
2/12/2020 11:53:34 AM
<![CDATA[Survey affirms Erdogan's loss of popularity continues]]>
In the survey conducted by AREA Research in Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, Ankara, Samsun, Malatya and Gaziantep between January 20-27, the participants were asked "Which party would you vote for if there was a parliamentary election today?"

About 16.2 percent answered this question as "I am indecisive".

The survey came out as 30.3 percent of the participants stated they would vote for the AKP, 20.8 percent for CHP, 10.8 percent for HDP, 9.4 percent for MHP, and 9.3 percent for IYI Party.

After the 16.2 percent of the undecided votes were distributed, the vote of the AKP was determined as 36.2 percent, the vote of the CHP was 24.8 percent, the vote of the HDP was 12.9 percent, the vote of the MHP was 11.3 percent and the vote of the IYI Party was 11.1 percent.

The participants were also asked about the presidential system. "A referendum on Turkey's administrative system, what would you choose?" The rate of those who stated that the system should be parliamentary was 57.3 percent, while the rate of those who chose a presidential system was 35.2 percent. 7.5 percent chose not to participate or simply did not know what to choose.

As a result of the survey, the "Presidential Government System" was found unsuccessful with 56.7 percent. While the rate of those who found successful was merely 35.7 percent, the rate of those who did not express opinions was 7.7 percent.

However, the most significant one was a question about whether they would vote for Erdogan; The rate of those who stated that they would vote for Erdogan was 35.3 percent, while 52.4 percent utterly rejected the idea. Only 12.3 percent were not sure about it.

Turkish President Erdogan’s AK Party further faced more defections after losing 840,000 members in 2018.

“Erdogan’s popularity over the last seven years...is generally on a declining trend, artificially boosted by one-off events, to the point where it looks irreversible,” said Gareth Jenkins, of the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development Policy.
]]>
2/12/2020 10:30:08 AM
<![CDATA[Meeting to ratify final agreement over GERD kicks off in Washington]]>
Shoukry traveled to the U.S. on Monday to participate in talks with the foreign and irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan over GERD in a final bid to resolve months of stalemates between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the operation of the mega-dam.

The meetings, scheduled until tomorrow, come under an agreement by the parties to reconvene in Washington this month.

The spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed al-Sebaie has said this round will firmly focus on reaching solutions that satisfy the three parties, indicating that it was agreed to set a timetable for filling the dam, especially the procedures followed in the drought years.

The spokesman added that the final agreement is expected to include rules on filling the dam as well as dealing with droughts, the main part that secures Egypt and a safe operating of the dam to preserve the rights of the downstream countries.

He affirmed that the agreement will also include other elements, such as conflict resolution, through the presence of a mechanism to deal firmly with issues binding all parties, and also by setting up a mitigation mechanism for the annual and long-term operation of the dam during droughts.

He finally pointed out that Egypt depends on around 98 percent of the Nile's water, and any slight defect will negatively affect the country, stressing that the dam should be managed jointly so that Egypt can guarantee its share of the water.

Last October, the Water Resources and Irrigation Ministry said negotiations with Ethiopia had reached a dead-end after the two sides failed to reach an agreement over the filling of the dam.

The Egyptian government blamed the failure of the talks on obstacles from the Ethiopian side.

Since Ethiopia started constructing the dam, Egypt has voiced its fears that the project would negatively impact its water supply and historic share of the River Nile.

On Friday, during the 36th session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Shoukry discussed with his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor the latest development of tripartite consultation between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The Egyptian Foreign Minister reviewed the current situation and Egypt’s positive engagement and its good faith in the negotiation to reach a fair agreement on filling and operating the dam, so that it would achieve Ethiopia's development goals without causing harm to Egypt's water interests, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahemd Hafez in a statement on Friday.
]]>
2/12/2020 7:30:58 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry, O’Brien discuss mutual relations, regional issues]]>
Shoukry traveled to the US on Monday to participate in talks with the foreign and irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in a final bid to resolve months of stalemates between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the operation of the mega dam.

The ministers of foreign affairs and water resources of the three countries agreed in January on a schedule for the filling plan and a mitigation mechanism for filling the dam during times of drought and prolonged drought.

Shokry and O'Brien stressed during their meeting the need to boost coordination between Egypt and the United States of America in a number of regional issues, including the Syrian crisis and the situation in Libya.

Both officials also highlighted Egypt’s efforts in combating terrorism and addressed countering the smuggling of terrorists to and from Libya and the Sahel and Sahara states.

They also reviewed the developments of the negotiations on the Renaissance Dam and the American administration's efforts to reach an agreement that serves the interests of the three countries.]]>
2/12/2020 6:44:47 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. charges five with conspiring to violate oil sanctions on Iran]]>
The defendants include Daniel Ray Lane, president of privately held STACK Royalties, LLC a Texas-based company that sells oil and gas mineral rights to investment funds and private equity groups.

The Justice Department charged the defendants with one count of conspiracy, and another for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, based on allegations that from July 2019 to February 2020 they conspired to arrange for the purchase of oil from Iran for sale to an unnamed Chinese refinery. The charges also allege violations of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

The five suspects, in addition to Lane, are Nicholas Haven of New York and Robert Thwaites, Nicholas Fuchs and Zhenyu Wang, also known as Bill Wang, of Texas.

Lane offered to further the conspiracy by laundering money through STACK Royalties, the Justice Department said. STACK did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China is the world's only major importer of Iranian oil despite sanctions President Donald Trump unilaterally reimposed on Tehran's petroleum exports in 2018 after withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.

"With the goal of illegally enriching themselves, the defendants conspired for over eight months to devise a scheme to violate U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran, particularly the ban on foreign oil sales,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers.

The defendants agreed to use a Polish shell company as a straw seller of the illicit oil and planned two shipments of oil per month, according to the charges against them.

The Justice Department said Fuchs and Thwaites agreed to apply for foreign passports in order to set up offshore accounts that would not be reported to U.S. authorities.

If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 25 years and a fine of up to $1.25 million, the department said. It was not immediately clear if the five had hired lawyers to represent them.
]]>
2/12/2020 5:44:05 AM
<![CDATA[Simmering confrontations northwestern Syria over 24 hours]]>
As a response to the killing of five Turkish soldiers in an attack on an observation post in Taftanaz by the Syrian Armed Forces, the Turkish Defense Ministry declared hitting 115 Syrian targets and “neutralizing” 101 members of the Syrian Armed Forces. The losses also include three tanks, two sites, and a fighter jet.

The Turkish Defense Ministry had announced earlier that Syrian forces retreated from Nayrab and that it has downed a Syrian fighter jet in the town, as reported by Russia Today.

Sputnik reported that Turkey-backed militant groups in Idlib, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ajnad al-Kavkaz, and Turkistan Islamic Party, are attacking sites of the Syrian Armed Forces in Nayrab village western Saraqeb so as an exchange of missile strikes is ongoing.

Russian and Syrian fighter jets are launching raids against the militants sites. Sources told Sputnik that a Syrian fighter jet was downed in farms western Saraqib and that it was probably targeted by an air defense missile.

Syrian sources told Sky News Arabia that Turkey had ordered armed groups it backs to stop any assaults against the Syrian forces until Turkish-Russian consultations are over. The sources revealed that the Syrian Armed Forces had simultaneously aborted a Turkish attempt to advance towards the western section of Saraqib they captured last week.

The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Thursday that coordination was underway with “Iranian and Turkish partners to achieve security and stability in Idlib,” as reported by Russia Today.

A Turkish diplomatic source told Monte Carlo Al Doualiyah that Turkish-Russian talks held on Saturday and Tuesday to reach a pacification have failed. A Russian delegation had arrived in Ankara earlier this week for that purpose.

The Russian Ministry of Defense revealed that militants attacks in the province’s de-escalation zone recorded more than 1,000 in the last two weeks of January, and that the number of casualties among Syrian Armed Forces and civilians reached hundreds. That is in addition to the murder of Russian and Turkish military experts.

On another front, the Syrian Armed Forces took over a large section southern Aleppo and the crossroad of highways connecting the governorate with Hama and Idlib. The areas restored by the Syrian forces are Rashdin 4, Aleppo Wood, and Gameat Al Sahafeyin after battles with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Turkistan Islamic Party, and others.

Syria updates: army advances, militants hit oil facilities

CAIRO - 4 February 2020: The Syrian Armed Forces continue to achieve advances northwestern Syria, particularly in Idlib province, amid militant attacks against gas facilities and engagements with Turkish troops. Armed groups in Syria rocket shelled on Tuesday morning oil facilities in Homs. The targeted utilities are Al-Rayyan Gas Station, a gas laboratory in the central zone; Ebla gas laboratory; and Homs refinery.




Developments on Monday, February 11

Reuters reported that an additional Turkish convoy encompassing 100 vehicles entered Idlib through Bab al Hawa crossing. Turkey formed force concentrations in Almastumah Military Camp in Idlib, the military residence area eastern the city, and others in Taftanaz Airport and around Saraqib in Idlib governorate.

After the death of five Turkish soldiers on Monday, the total number of Turkish troops neutralized in one week in Idlib recorded 13. The others were killed in an attack by the Syrian forces on Turkish troops who attempted to obstruct their advance on the road extending from Aleppo and Latakia.

In a similar context, the number of victims of an explosive car in Aleppo’s Efrein rose to eight while the number of injuries is seven. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that Turkey-backed militant groups had arrested 12 kurds in Efrein, including a woman and a member of the city’s municipal council. The place where they are held is still unknown.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) tweeted on Tuesday that around 700,000 civilians fled their homes northwestern Syria since December 1, and that their number surpassed 100,000 over the past week.



Armed groups in idlib continue to launch drones in the direction of Khmeimim Air Base as two were detected by the defense system, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria announced on Tuesday. The center had declared last week that the base defenses detected and obstructed drones that were launched from Idlib’s de-escalation area.

Below is a video aired by Extra News of the Syrian government forces strike against the Turkish observation post in Idlib’s Taftanaz.


]]>
2/11/2020 5:48:33 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament primarily approves amendments to ‘terror lists’ law]]>
The amendments were put forward by the government to law no.8/2015 on regulating the lists of terrorist entities and terrorists.

Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said that the amendments are taking place in time where Egypt is combating terrorism and that the law has a temporary preventive nature as they apply on individuals and entities before a court sentence is issued. He clarified that such measures have been imposed by the danger of the terrorism phenomenon and that the law matches international standards in principle.

The existing law has put a legal framework to designate terrorist entities and individuals, and take necessary measures accordingly. The law matches UNSC Resolution no. 1269 on combatting the financing of terrorism and UNSC Resolution no. 1373 on counterterrorism.

The draft is submitted to the State Council for consultation before the final vote takes place in the next plenary session.

The draft amendments provide, “The terrorist entity is any association, organization, group, society, cell, company, union or other, regardless of its legal or real status, that practices or has as purpose calling - by any means internally or abroad - for :

harming individuals, spreading terror among them, exposing their lives, freedoms, rights, security to danger;

harming the environment, natural resources, artifacts, communications utilities, urban, maritime transportation, and air transport, other assets, buildings, public and private properties;

occupying and taking over them;

inhibiting or crippling the work of public, judicial, and governmental authorities, municipal entities, worship places, hospitals, educational institutions, other public facilities, diplomatic missions, regional and international organizations and authorities in Egypt;

cutting the road of public and private vehicles or exposing them to danger;

jeopardizing public order;

exposing the society’s security, interests or safety to danger;
suspending the provisions of the constitution and laws;

violating individual freedoms;

harming national unity, social peace and national security.”

The law applies to entities and individuals who commit the aforementioned acts against both Egypt and other countries.

The House of Representatives discarded from the amendments presented by the government that “TV channels” can be classified as terror entities, if they call for the violations stated in the draft.

The parliament has also modified certain provisions in the draft. A case in point is temporarily suspending public workers charged with terrorism and paying half their salary until a final ruling is issued. The draft submitted by the government provided that public employees shall be terminated once charged of terrorism. The parliament’s reason for rejecting such provision is that the law is about preventive measures taken before and during prosecution so that terrorism charges shall not incur permanent consequences.

Out of the same principle, the parliament declined the permanent cancellation of a suspect/defendant’s membership in professional syndicates, boards of public companies, associations, institutions, entities where the state or citizens hold shares, sport clubs, sport unions, or any public-interest entity.

The house has also approved Abdel Aal’s suggestion to annul the exclusion of terror suspects/defendants from subsidies programs, and to add that those charged must be banned from receiving or transacting money.

The other provisions state freezing the money and assets of individuals charged with terrorism, their shares in properties and enterprises, and revenues.
]]>
2/11/2020 12:21:35 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Canadian PM discuss counter-terrorism efforts, bilateral ties]]>
"President Sisi affirmed Egypt’s keenness to strengthen the economic and trade relations with Canada," Radi added. Both leaders also tackled the regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Trudeau expressed his country’s commitment to continue working with the African Union. He discussed Egypt’s efforts during its AU chairmanship in 2019, according to a statement from the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday.



Sisi handed over the presidency of the African Union to South Africa during his participation at the 33rd African Union Summit.

In a speech, President Sisi reviewed Egypt’s achievements during its presidency of the AU, saying Egypt managed to reinforce the state of security and peace in the continent through the principle of “African solutions to African problems,” despite challenges of terrorism and extremism, especially in the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa.

"Egypt has implemented the principle of “African solutions to African problems” through many initiatives," Sisi said, including hosting two consultative summits on Libya and Sudan, and testing it on several issues such as that of Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan and Central Africa.

Additional reporting by Amr Mohamed Kandil]]>
2/10/2020 4:02:27 PM
<![CDATA[Parliamentarian: Egypt mobilizes its efforts to serve African continent]]>
In a press release on Friday on the occasion of the end of Egypt's AU chairmanship, Darwish said Egypt's leading role in serving Africa will continue through its membership of the African Troika.

Egypt's political leadership gives priority to achieve development in Africa through its partnership with countries concerned with development in Africa, he added.

Egypt is working to transform the international view of Africa as an important player on the economic arena and international relations, thanks to its natural and human resources and huge economic potentials, Darwish said.

He further underlined the progress achieved by the countries of the continent in creating investment opportunities through legislative, institutional and executive reforms. ]]>
2/10/2020 12:58:50 PM
<![CDATA['Without free press, there will be no free society': Abdel Aal]]>
“Without free press, there will be no free society,” Ali said in the plenary session held on Sunday to discuss a number of draft laws. He added, “Press [in Egypt] enjoys independence and it is mandatory to support free press as it is the guarantee to have a free society, so I salute all journalists.”

The Speaker praised the Parliament’s correspondents for reporting the house’s news accurately and honestly. “Some may think that I give press statements or hold press conferences, but I don’t. It is just reporters doing their work and reporting the Parliament’s news,” Ali said.

]]>
2/9/2020 6:09:45 PM
<![CDATA[Guterres praises Egypt’s efforts during 2019 AU presidency]]>
President Sisi and Guterres met Saturday on the sidelines of the 33rd African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. "The UN secretary general acclaimed Sisi’s efforts in deepening the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations," Radi added.

The UN secretary general also affirmed the international organization’s keenness on enhancing the relation with Egypt to help bring peace and stability to the region in light of Egypt’s support to the UN reform initiatives in various directions and maintaining the UN peace process," Radi continued.

Both leaders tackled a number of regional and international issues of mutual concern, atop of which is the Libyan crisis and the necessity of implementing the outcomes of Berlin Conference on Libya. They also discussed the situation in Syrian and the Peace Process in the Middle East.

Sisi handed over the presidency of the African Union to South Africa during his participation at the 33rd African Union Summit.

In a speech, President Sisi reviewed Egypt’s achievements during its presidency of the AU, saying Egypt managed to reinforce the state of security and peace in the continent through the principle of “African solutions to African problems,” despite challenges of terrorism and extremism, especially in the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa.

Egypt has implemented the principle of “African solutions to African problems” through many initiatives, Sisi said, including hosting two consultative summits on Libya and Sudan, and testing it on several issues such as that of Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan and Central Africa.

Additional reporting by Amr Mohamed Kandil

]]>
2/9/2020 6:09:22 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi stresses integrated approach to Libyan crisis in AU Summit]]>
“The Libyan crisis is going through a critical phase turning more complicated and incurring security repercussions within Libyan borders and in neighboring countries. That requires a continuous follow-up from the Peace and Security Council,” the president said.

“The interconnection between the situation in Libya and the G5 states requires supporting the latter’s national efforts to deal with the complex challenges they face, mainly the attempts of extremist terrorist organizations to expand, and the rise of organized crime, arms smuggling, and human trafficking,” the president elaborated.

“The integrated approach to deal with such challenges must address security, developmental, economic and social challenges, and support the national institutions of G5 states to impose their sovereignty,” the president added.

“The known foreign interventions in Libyan affairs have given rise to threats that go beyond Libyan borders. The continuous pouring of thousands of foreign militants and terrorist elements from Syria to Libya will affect countries sharing borders with Libya on the very short-run, if legitimate means are not adopted to deter such phenomenon within a continental framework fostered by the African Peace and Security Council,” the president asserted.

Arms embargo violations persist in Libya

CAIRO - 1 February 2020: The arms embargo violations persist in Libya amid the denouncement of the international community. Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salame decried on Thursday the presence of foreign militants in the country without indicating their nationalities stating that the arms embargo violations recorded 110.




“The recent negative developments on the Libyan scene made the security aspect come into focus, which is normal in light of terror threats and others relevant to the spread of organized crime and the possible worsening of African migrants’ misery. Yet, that should not distract us from what Egypt has been calling for since the outbreak of the Libyan crisis nine years ago. That is the necessity to develop an integrated approach that tackles all aspects of the crisis and not just the security one,” the president underlined.

“There will not be a secure stability in Libya unless a peaceful settlement is reached in a way that eliminates the marginalization of certain Libyan territories and allows a fair distribution of revenues and power. [The settlement must also make room for] the rebuilding of state institutions that must be able to fulfill their duties towards the citizens and control the borders preserving the security of Libya and inhibiting dangers from reaching neighboring countries,” the president added.

“The matter was discussed thoroughly at the AU Troika Committee and the AU High-Level Committee on Libya meeting held in April. As the AU chair, I also stressed that approach in the G7 Summit held in France last summer,” the president pointed out.

“This approach was set forward by Egypt in the preparation process for the Berlin Summit and was adopted in the convention. It is very unfortunate that violations have been committed by known regional parties as they breached the arms embargo and kept sending thousands of mercenaries that are human murder machines,” the president stated.

The president praised the AU High-Level Committee on Libya and its chair’s eagerness to achieve more African involvement in efforts deployed to reach a political solution for the Libyan crisis.
]]>
2/9/2020 6:07:37 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi invites Djibouti's delegation head to announce AU Summit Bureau 2020]]>
President Sisi chaired the inaugural session of the 33rd ordinary African Summit, held with the participation of heads of state and government and officials of 55 African nations along with key international figures, including the United Nations secretary general.]]>
2/9/2020 3:50:50 PM
<![CDATA[EASO’s executive director meets Egypt’s amb. in Malta]]>
The meeting discussed the current situation of the refugees crisis especially with the increasing waves of displacement in the world due to political and economic conflicts.

Gregori praised Egypt’s efforts to host large numbers of refugees from the Middle East and African countries.

On December 12, Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Hamdi Sanad Loza reviewed Egypt's efforts in hosting refugees during an event organized by Egypt's permanent mission in Geneva.

During the event, held on the sidelines of the first Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, he expounded Egypt's efforts in hosting more than 250,000 refugees registered atthe United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) from 59 nations and around 5 million others, the majority of whom had fled disputes, violence and suppression in their own countries.

"Egypt offers services to refugees in the fields of education and health and they benefit from the state subsidies of various basic commodities," he said, highlighting the country's steps to improve their conditions in light of Egypt's Vision 2030.

]]>
2/9/2020 2:27:16 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi hands over African Union presidency to South Africa]]>
In a speech, President Sisi reviewed Egypt’s achievements during its presidency of the AU last year, saying it managed to reinforce the state of security and peace in the continent through the principle of “African solutions to African problems,” despite challenges of terrorism and extremism, especially in the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa.

Egypt has implemented the principle of “African solutions to African problems” through many initiatives, Sisi said, including hosting two consultative summits on Libya and Sudan, and testing it on several issues such as that of Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan and Central Africa.

For his part, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa praised the hard work President Sisi did during his presidency of the AU, according to media reports. He said an extraordinary meeting will be held in the middle of this year to discuss the activation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Proceeding with counter-terrorism efforts in Africa, Sisi stressed, during his speech, Egypt's full readiness to host an African summit dedicated to discuss forming an African force to combat terrorism, with the aim of achieving peace and security in the continent, under the supervision of the AU’s Peace and Security Council and the Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security (STCDSS).

Sisi hailed the efforts Egypt made during its presidency of the African Union, and highlighted the establishment of a framework to develop the African infrastructure 2021-2030, including the project to put a main plan to establish a global power interconnection project, and the project to establish a land road between Egyptian capital of Cairo and South Africa’s capital of Cape Town.

The president again congratulated Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for winning the Nobel Peace Prize last year, and also paid tribute to the peoples of the African states.]]>
2/9/2020 2:16:27 PM
<![CDATA[Arab League chief urges cooperation to resolve Libyan crisis]]>
The Egyptian diplomat affirmed the need to resolve the Libyan issue without foreign interference. He also called for enhancing cooperation to support Somalia and Comoros.

The summit, during which Egypt is set to hand over the presidency of the African Union to South Africa, was attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Aboul Gheit hailed Sisi’s achievements for the AU during Egypt’s chairmanship of the AU last year, including launching the African Continental Free Trade Area, adopting an integrated vision for the institutional reform of the AU and establishing the pillars of the 2063 agenda.

Sisi on Saturday urged the member states of the African Union to join the African Peer-Review Mechanism (APRM), a self-monitoring mechanism, during his speech at the APRM Forum of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa.

Sisi urged the member states to effectively participate in the APRM to open new realms for the AU to benefit from the accumulated national experience of its member states, in a way that would accelerate the implementation of its developmental agenda 2063 and its sustainable development 2030.

The president affirmed Egypt’s full support to the APRM mechanism and its belief that the member states would also back it to contribute to achieving prosperity and comprehensive development.]]>
2/9/2020 1:21:26 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi urges AU member states of join African Peer-Review Mechanism]]>
Sisi urged the member states to effectively participate in the APRM to open new realms for the AU to benefit from the accumulated national experience of its member states, in a way that would accelerate the implementation of its developmental agenda 2063 and its sustainable development 2030.

The president affirmed Egypt’s full support to the APRM mechanism and its belief that the member states would also back it to contribute to achieving prosperity and comprehensive development.

Sisi arrived in Addis Ababa on Saturday to attend the 33rd AU Summit taking place on February 9-10. During the meetings, Egypt is set to hand over the union’s chairmanship to South Africa.

On the sidelines of the two-day summit, President Sisi will hold a series of bilateral meetings with a number of leaders of African states, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi said.

The summit comes under the 2020 theme of “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions For Africa’s Development,” a commitment that aims at achieving peace and security in Africa, in accordance with continent’s Agenda 2063.]]>
2/9/2020 12:33:51 PM
<![CDATA[Syrian Armed Forces capture Saraqib, thousands flee to kurd areas]]>
Both the Damascus-Aleppo International Highway known as M5 linking the North and the South, and the M4 Highway linking Aleppo, Idlib, and Latakia extend through the city.

The Arab Syrian Army had captured earlier on Thursday Afes village northern Saraqib in the eastern countryside of Idlib, and on Wednesday Tell Touqan, Islamin, and Al Rayan villages after ending terrorists presence. The Syrian army also imposed control over Aleppo-Saraqeb International Highway.

As such, the Syrian government forces were able to encircle four out of 12 Turkish checkpoints last week. Those are Morek in Hama, Al Rashdin in Aleppo, Maar Hatat, Tell Touqan and Sarmin in Idlib.

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria revealed that 17 villages and towns in Idlib’s de-escalation area were struck on Thursday and Friday, according to Russia Today. The center clarified that 25 strikes hit sites in Latakia, Idlib, and Hama.

In parallel, four Israeli F-16 fighter jets struck early on Thursday eight air-to-ground missiles in the suburbs of Damascus without entering Syrian airspace, Russia announced.

Al Arabiya reported that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared on Friday the arrival of hundreds of Idlib residents to Manbij. The SDF had announced on Wednesday that thousands had been displaced from various areas in Syria to the sites controlled by the Kurdish forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Syrian Armed Forces captured from militants on Tuesday Mardikh, Tal Mardikh, Kaddor and Ruwayha villages, located within Ma’rat al-Numan, Ariha, and Saraqeb towns.

That makes the number of towns and villages restored by the Syrian army between January 24 and February 4 56.

Those are Telmans, Ma’ar Shmasha, Dier Sharqi, Dier Gharbi, Ma’arshamarin, Ma’rata, Al-Ghadfa, Marshourin, Al-Za’alana, Al-Dana, Tal Al-Sheikh, Sawami’e, Khirbet Mzayan, Masaran, Bsida and Taqana, Babolin, Kafr Bassin, Ma’arhatat, Hamidia, Dar es Salaam, Salhiya, Kafruma, Ma’rat al-Numan, Wadi Al-Dayif, Hantotin, al-Jarada, Ruwayha, Qahiriya, Ain Halban, Tal al-Dibis, Khan al-Sobul and Ma’ardabsi, Tal Mardikh, Jobas, Hertamia, Qamhana, Abu-Jreif, Tal Khatra, Tal Mastif, Al Kana’yes, Karsian, Hish, Kafrmazda, Jabala, Mouqa, Amoudia, Armanya, Kafrbatikh, Dadikh, Luf, Anqrati, Jobas, Sinan, Zakar, Tarnaba, Al Nayrab, Mardikh, Tal Mardikh, Kaddor and Ruwayha.

At present, the Syrian armed forces lie eight kilometers away from Idlib on Aleppo – Latakia international highway known as M4 road.

Clashes with Turkey

The number of Turkish troops killed by the Syrian Armed Forces rose to 13 on Monday as eight fell in Idlib and three were hit in the northern countryside of each of Hama and Latakia. Yet, Turkey announced later on Monday striking 54 targets in Idlib and killing 76 Syrian soldiers, as reported by Sky News Arabia.

Chairman of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) Ramy Abdel Rahman explained to Al Arabiya Al Hadath on Monday how the engagement between Turkish troops and the Syrian Armed Forces took place causing casualties among the former.

Clashes started when the Syrian army took over Jobas village western Saraqib and was moving on the road extending from Aleppo and Latakia as Turkish troops attempted to impede their advancement.

As a consequence, the Syrian government forces struck at Turkish troops killing four soldiers and injuring nine others, which has triggered a response by the latter as they struck certain points in Morek town and launched a missile attack from Sanjak of Alexandretta against the former.

Abdel Rahman said that four Turkish military convoys were trying to establish a new control point in Jobas but retreated after the Syrian government forces captured the town and struck them. The Turkish convoys headed west and probably have as destination Arihah town.

SOHR also affirmed that around 200 Turkish military vehicles entered Syrian territories early on Monday and are heading towards Idlib and Aleppo. SOHR had revealed on Sunday that a huge Turkish military convoy entered Syria from Kafr Lusain crossing, and that 54 Syrian soldiers and 40 militants died in clashes in Aleppo and Idlib.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that Turkish troops were hit because of not notifying Russia of their operations northwestern Idlib, Reuters reported citing TASS. Nevertheless, the ministry added that Turkish aircrafts did not cross Syrian borders or hit any Syrian forces.

SOHR also negated that Turkey had targeted more than 40 Syrian Armed Forces targets by F16 fighter jets.

On Tuesday, three Turkish convoys entered Syrian territories from Kafr Lusain crossing bordering Sanjak of Alexandretta controlled by Turkey, so the number of vehicles brought in since Sunday rose to 400. Five other convoys had entered since Sunday and headed to Idlib and Aleppo.
]]>
2/8/2020 5:01:05 PM
<![CDATA[Khamenei says Iran should increase military might to prevent war]]>
“We should be strong to prevent any war against the county. Being weak will encourage our enemies to attack Iran,” Khamenei, Iran’s top authority, said according to state news agency IRNA.

The Islamic Republic has vowed to increase its military strength despite mounting pressure from Western countries to curtail its military capabilities, including its ballistic missile program.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have spiked since 2018 when U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 pact between Iran and world powers under which Tehran accepted curbs to its nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions.

“Since the revolution their aim was to stop us from having a strong military and a strong air force ... but look at us now. We even build planes. We have transformed their pressure to opportunity,” Khamenei said, according to state TV.

Iran is marking the 41st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979.

Washington has reimposed crippling sanctions aimed at halting all Iranian oil exports, saying it seeks to force Iran to negotiate to reach a wider deal.

Khamenei, who dismissed the U.S. sanctions as a “criminal act”, has banned Iranian officials from holding talks unless the United States returns to the deal and lifts all sanctions. He said Iran should distance its economy from dependency on oil exports.

Iran and the United States stormed to the edge of a war in early January when Tehran’s most prominent general, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy in Baghdad.

Tehran responded by launching missile attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq.

Iranian television said 80 “American terrorists” had been killed and U.S. helicopters and military equipment damaged, without providing any evidence, Washington denied that there were any fatalities.]]>
2/8/2020 2:21:59 PM
<![CDATA[Trump fires two major impeachment figures]]>
An adviser to Trump said the firings of the major impeachment witnesses was meant to send a message that siding against the President will not be tolerated.

Vindman was pushed out of his role Friday months earlier than expected, according to a statement from his attorney. Vindman was not slated to leave until July, but had been telling colleagues in recent weeks he would likely leave soon.

Sondland said in a statement Friday that he is being recalled from his post.

"I was advised today that the President intends to recall me effective immediately as United States Ambassador to the European Union," Sondland said.

"I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve, to Secretary Pompeo for his consistent support, and to the exceptional and dedicated professionals at the U.S. Mission to the European Union. I am proud of our accomplishments. Our work here has been the highlight of my career."]]>
2/8/2020 1:13:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s presidency releases video on its AU chairmanship]]>


The date marks the arrival of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Addis Ababa to attend the 33rd AU Summit taking place on February 9-10. During the meetings, Egypt will hand over the union’s chairmanship to South Africa.

It is scheduled that President Sisi will participate in the AU Peace and Security Council meeting on Libya, the meeting of African mechanism for Western Sahara, and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)’s Forum of Heads of State and Government, said Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.

On the sidelines of the two-day summit, President Sisi will hold a series of bilateral meetings with a number of leaders of African states, Radi added.

President Sisi will chair a closed session to review the challenges facing the African continent, as Egypt has chaired the AU in 2019, Egyptian Ambassador to Ethiopia Osama Abdel Khaleq told Egypt’s Extra News.

The summit comes under the 2020 theme of “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions For Africa’s Development,” a commitment that aims at achieving peace and security in Africa, in accordance with continent’s Agenda 2063.
]]>
2/8/2020 12:59:49 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian, S.African FMs hold talks on Renaissance Dam]]>
The Egyptian Foreign Minister reviewed the current situation and Egypt’s positive engagement and its good faith in the negotiation to reach a fair agreement on filling and operating the dam, so that it would achieve Ethiopia's development goals without causing harm to Egypt's water interests, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahemd Hafez in a statement on Friday.

The meeting also tackled the bilateral relations between two countries and the mutual cooperation in AU topics, atop of which the AU Peace Fund, Hafez continued.

On January 12, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that he asked South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to mediate to find solutions to the disagreement between the three countries as South African will chair the AU this year.

After a four-day negotiation in Washington D.C on January 28-31, the three countries reached an agreement on only three points of contention regarding the construction of the controversial dam.

They agreed on a schedule that includes a plan for filling Dam in stages, and on mechanisms for dealing with droughts, prolonged droughts, and years of water scarcity during the process of filling the dam, and during the dam operation.

The US drafted a document of agreement regarding the three above-mentioned points and was unilaterally signed by Egypt.

The difference between the three Nile basin countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.
Additional reporting by

Samar Samir


]]>
2/7/2020 4:31:06 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt seeks more cooperation with EU countries]]>
Headed by Foreign Minister Aide for European Affairs Badr Abdel-Atti, the meeting tackled the ways of enhancing and developing cooperation between Egypt and EU organizations such as Union for the Mediterranean, the Anna Lindh Foundation in Egypt, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in the statement.

He noted that the meeting also comes in light of Egypt’s ongoing consultation with the Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).

The Egyptian officials discussed the means of bolstering the trade and investment ties between both sides and of getting benefits from the Egyptian deals with a number of Arab and African countries like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Hazef said.

Abdel-Atti and other Ethiopian officials also reviewed the Egyptian economic situation and the promising investment opportunities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), shedding light on the importance of enhancing cooperation in the artificial intelligence field and European inbound tourism to Egypt.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Aide for International and Regional Multilateral Economic Affairs Omar abu Aish presented Egypt’s energy plan to be a platform for more cooperation between European Countries after founding the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, Hafez continued.

The Egyptian officials also tackled the latest situations in Libya and Syria, affirming the necessity of unifying the international efforts to put an end to some countries’ intervention into the Libyan and Syrian crises.

Regarding the human rights issues, Egypt reviewed the latest development of establishing the Permanent Supreme Committee for Human Right, which was announced in November 2018.

The participants from both sides agreed on holding another meeting in near future, Hafez said.

]]>
2/7/2020 3:04:28 PM
<![CDATA[FM: Egypt keen on treating Kenyan citizens from Hepatitis C]]>
This came during Shoukry's meeting with his Kenyan counterpart Raychelle Omamo on the sidelines of the 36th session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa.

WhatsApp_Image_2020-02-06_at_2.27.20_PM.jpeg


"Shoukry congratulated Omamo for assuming her new position in February, praising the bilateral relations between both countries," said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement on Thursday.

The Egyptian foreign minister affirmed that the visit that was paid by President of the National Assembly of Kenya Justin Muturi in January 2020 reflects the strong relations between both countries.

WhatsApp_Image_2020-02-06_at_2.27.21_PM


"Both ministers also tackled counter-terrorism efforts and other regional issues of mutual concern," Hafez said.

In April 2019, the Ministry of Health issued a statement reporting that the ministry started setting up four medical care centers in Africa starting with Chad. The project comes in implementation of an initiative launched by President Sisi to treat 1 million African nationals from virus C.

In January 2020, the minister of health announced that a total of 30,632 African citizens from South Sudan, Chad and Eritrea have been tested for Hepatitis C and 376 citizens have been provided free treatment.


WhatsApp_Image_2020-02-06_at_2.27.22_PM.jpeg
]]>
2/6/2020 6:43:13 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's FM chairs 36th session of AU’s Executive Council in Ethiopia]]>
This council meeting at the level of the foreign ministers will be followed by the 33rd summit of the heads of states on Sunday and Monday. The Executive Council is tasked with drafting the decisions and declarations that will be considered by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the AU said.

Giving an opening speech, Shoukry highlighted the achievements in joint African action at the political, economic and developmental levels, spokesman Ahmed Hafez said. The minister stressed the need for concerted efforts of African countries to address the issues and challenges facing the continent.

Shoukry also highlighted number of issues that is set to be discussed during the council meeting, including the issue of refugees, returnees and the internally displaced and the “Silencing the Guns” commitment that aims to achieve peace.

The foreign minister’s speech also referred to the ongoing efforts to achieve continental economic integration, especially the activating of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Hafez added.

au2

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will attend the 33rd African Union Summit set to run until February 10th in Addis Ababa, the Egyptian ambassador said, during which Egypt will hand over the presidency of the AU to South Africa.

The summit comes under the 2020 theme of “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions For Africa’s Development,” a commitment that aims at achieving peace and security in Africa, in accordance with continent’s Agenda 2063.

Among the issues that is set to be discussed during the summit are sustainable funding of Africa’s development agenda specifically addressing the scale of assessment and contributions to the AU’s budget; progress made in the implementation of Agenda 2063; operationalization of the AfCFTA; African candidatures in the international system, the International Criminal Court, and Africa’s Digital Transformation Strategy, according to the AU’s official website.]]>
2/6/2020 2:46:22 PM
<![CDATA[Erdoğan's adviser Aktay releases book highlighting MB's Qutb]]>
Aktay specifically chose to write and highlight the teachings, quotes and life of bloodthirsty ideologue Sayyid Qutb, whose writings were only soaked with extremism, bloodshed and hatred.

Political science professor Tarek Fahmy told Egypt Today in an interview that Aktay decided to glorify Qutb to stress the extent to which the AK Parti is influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideology,

Fahmy further added that despite of Aktary’s calls to resolve disagreements between Ankara and Arab countries, he in fact believes in the ideas and figures of the Muslim Brotherhood.

It is pertinent to mention that Aktay invited TV anchor Mohamed Nasser to the signing ceremony of the book, the mater which affirms that Nasser, who spread fake news regarding Egypt and its leadership on MB-affiliated channels broadcasting from Turkey, is more involved with the Turkish regime and the Muslim Brotherhood than announced.

The book, entitled “Sayyid Qutb… amid the hyperbole of his fans and the injustice of his critics” from Aktary’s point of view, celebrates the ideas of Qutb and considers them a world heritage that should be built upon.

DMC presents documentary on Muslim Brotherhood's extreme ideologue Qutb

CAIRO - 26 January 2019: Egyptian entertainment channel DMC, in cooperation with Egypt Today, has released the first part of a documentary film about Muslim Brotherhood leader, Sayyid Qutb (1906 - 1966). Qutb was a leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s; he influenced the majority of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.


]]>
2/6/2020 2:30:44 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi to attend 33rd AU Summit in Addis Ababa Feb. 9: Egyptian amb.]]>
The summit comes under the 2020 theme of “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions For Africa’s Development,” a commitment that aims at achieving peace and security in Africa, in accordance with continent’s Agenda 2063.

President Sisi will chair a closed session to review the challenges facing the African continent, as Egypt has chaired the AU in 2019, Egyptian Ambassador to Ethiopia Osama Abdel Khaleq told Egypt’s Extra News.

Sisi will meet, during the summit, with a number of African leaders and guests from around the world, Abdel Khaleq said, adding that the president will give a speech about the country’s accomplishments of Sisi during 2019.

An opening session during the summit will host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas or his delegate, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, he added.

The 36th session of the Executive Council of the African Union kicked off in Addis Ababa on Thursday under Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

On Twitter, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said the Egyptian top diplomat will preside over the two-day meeting and deliver a speech at the opening session.

The council meeting at the level of the foreign ministers will be followed by the 33rd summit of the heads of state on Sunday and Monday.

The Executive Council meeting will tackle key issues dealing with AU activities as well as the file of refugees, returnees and the internally displaced.

Shoukry is due to hold talks with his African counterparts on the sidelines of the meetings to discuss issues of mutual concern.


MENA contributed to the reporting]]>
2/6/2020 2:09:10 PM
<![CDATA[AU Executive Council session kicks off under Egypt]]>
On Twitter, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said the Egyptian top diplomat will preside over the two-day meeting and deliver a speech at the opening session.

The council meeting at the level of the foreign ministers will be followed by the 33rd summit of the heads of state on Sunday and Monday.

The Executive Council meeting will tackle key issues dealing with AU activities as well as the file of refugees, returnees and the internally displaced.

Shoukry is due to hold talks with his African counterparts on the sidelines of the meetings to discuss issues of mutual concern.]]>
2/6/2020 12:11:22 PM
<![CDATA[Trump-Pelosi feud erupts during speech to Congress as impeachment trial nears end]]>
Trump avoided the subject of his impeachment drama in a pugnacious 80-minute speech, but the raw wounds from the battle were evident with fellow Republicans giving him standing ovations while rival Democrats for the most part remained seated.

The Republican-led Senate was expected to acquit him of charges he abused his powers and obstructed Congress during a vote beginning at 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) on Wednesday.

Seeing Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives speaker, for the first time since she stormed out of a White House meeting four months ago, Trump declined to shake her outstretched hand as he gave her a paper copy of his remarks before starting to speak.

Despite having not spoken to Trump since their last meeting, Pelosi appeared to be taken aback. She avoided citing the customary “high privilege and distinct honor” that usually accompanies the speaker’s introduction of the president to Congress.

“Members of Congress, the President of the United States” was all she said in introducing Trump.

When his speech ended, Pelosi stood and tore up her copy of the remarks he had handed her, later telling reporters it was “the courteous thing to do, considering the alternative.”

Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, said of Pelosi: “Her hatred for @realdonaldtrump has blinded her to the repulsive nature of her smug, elitist behavior.”

After the event, Pelosi tweeted a photo of her with her hand reaching out to Trump and said, “Democrats will never stop extending the hand of friendship to get the job done #ForThePeople. We will work to find common ground where we can, but will stand our ground where we cannot. #SOTU”

The tension was a sign that little legislative progress should be expected with the presidential election nine months away.

The impeachment case has intensified bitter feelings between Trump, a former reality TV star-turned conservative politician, and Pelosi, a California liberal, that have existed throughout his presidency. He routinely calls her “Crazy Nancy” at his campaign rallies.

‘FOUR MORE YEARS’
As he began the speech, Republicans from both houses of Congress chanted “four more years” while he stood at the lectern in the chamber of the House.

Democrats sat silently and some could be seen shaking their heads as Trump declared, “The state of our union is stronger than ever before.”

Pelosi, who dropped her opposition to impeachment and allowed Democratic lawmakers to seek the charges against him, sat stoically and grim-faced behind Trump and paged through a paper copy of his speech as he spoke.

Trump entered the chamber with Democrats experiencing unease and chaos after technical glitches delayed the results of voting in Iowa on Monday, the first 2020 contest as the party seeks a nominee to face the incumbent Republican.

Trump presented himself as a big improvement over Democratic President Barack Obama, whom he succeeded three years ago, saying he had bolstered U.S. economic growth and increased jobs.

“In just three short years we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny,” he said.

The House impeachment managers, acting as prosecutors in the Senate impeachment trial, were seated together at the front of the Democrats’ section.

DEMOCRATIC WOMEN PROTEST
Many House Democratic women wore white for a second year in a row, a sign of the suffrage movement that won women the right to vote 100 years ago. Several Democratic lawmakers refused to attend the annual speech to protest Trump, such as liberal firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Trump, using the speech to lay out his vision for a second four-year term, said a Democratic plan to expand government-funded health insurance amounted to a “socialist takeover” that would bankrupt the country, cut benefits for those who have them now and provide care to illegal immigrants.

Democratic presidential candidates and many lawmakers have proposed healthcare plans that would be run by the government, a sharp departure from the current, private system in which millions of Americans receive medical insurance from their employers.

Trump’s lack of a healthcare plan has left him open to criticism that he has not put enough work into finding a way to reduce rising insurance costs that burden middle-class Americans.

“We will never let socialism destroy American healthcare!” Trump said.

Democratic women stood and chanted “HR 3” - a reference to a Democratic bill that would lower drug costs.

In the televised Democratic response to Trump’s speech, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said: “Democrats are trying to make your healthcare better. Republicans in Washington are trying to take it away.”

Trump offered an upbeat portrayal of his presidency in hopes of persuading Americans to give him another four-year term in the Nov. 3 election.He saluted surprise guest Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader, and made cancer-stricken conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh an immediate recipient of the presidential Medal of Freedom, with Trump’s wife Melania pinning the ribbon around Limbaugh’s neck.

Trump also revived his polarizing arguments that migrants should be stopped from crossing the southern U.S. border and that so-called “sanctuary cities” where migrants are protected are wrong. His immigration policies are opposed by Democrats.

Pelosi could be seen shaking her head as Trump spoke of his views on immigration.

After coming close to a broad conflict with Iran after he ordered the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, Trump said, “We are working to end America’s wars in the Middle East.”]]>
2/5/2020 1:15:17 PM
<![CDATA[Syria updates: army advances, militants hit oil facilities ]]>
Armed groups in Syria rocket shelled on Tuesday morning oil facilities in Homs. The targeted utilities are Al-Rayyan Gas Station, a gas laboratory in the central zone; Ebla gas laboratory; and Homs refinery.

However, civil defense elements were able to control the fires ensued, and loss evaluation is currently underway, as reported by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Ebla laboratory, which supplies 2.5 million cubic meters of gas to local power plants daily, did not sustain any damages.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Syrian Armed Forces captured from militants on Tuesday Mardikh, Tal Mardikh, Kaddor and Ruwayha villages, located within Ma’rat al-Numan, Ariha, and Saraqeb towns.

“Regime forces seek to encircle Saraqeb and besiege it from several directions, as happened in Ma’rat Al-Nu’man, and seek to approach Ariha and Idlib cities as well,” SOHR stated. That makes the number of towns and villages restored by the Syrian army since January 24 56.

Those are Telmans, Ma’ar Shmasha, Dier Sharqi, Dier Gharbi, Ma’arshamarin, Ma’rata, Al-Ghadfa, Marshourin, Al-Za’alana, Al-Dana, Tal Al-Sheikh, Sawami’e, Khirbet Mzayan, Masaran, Bsida and Taqana, Babolin, Kafr Bassin, Ma’arhatat, Hamidia, Dar es Salaam, Salhiya, Kafruma, Ma’rat al-Numan, Wadi Al-Dayif, Hantotin, al-Jarada, Ruwayha, Qahiriya, Ain Halban, Tal al-Dibis, Khan al-Sobul and Ma’ardabsi, Tal Mardikh, Jobas, Hertamia, Qamhana, Abu-Jreif, Tal Khatra, Tal Mastif, Al Kana’yes, Karsian, Hish, Kafrmazda, Jabala, Mouqa, Amoudia, Armanya, Kafrbatikh, Dadikh, Luf, Anqrati, Jobas, Sinan, Zakar, Tarnaba, Al Nayrab, Mardikh, Tal Mardikh, Kaddor and Ruwayha.

At present, the Syrian armed forces lie eight kilometers away from Idlib on Aleppo – Latakia international highway known as M4 road.

On Tuesday, three Turkish convoys entered Syrian territories from Kafr Lusain crossing bordering Sanjak of Alexandretta controlled by Turkey, so the number of vehicles brought in since Sunday rose to 400. Five other convoys had entered since Sunday and headed to Idlib and Aleppo.

The number of Turkish troops killed by the Syrian Armed Forces rose to 13 on Monday as eight fell in Idlib and three were hit in the northern countryside of each of Hama and Latakia. Yet, Turkey announced later on Monday striking 54 targets in Idlib and killing 76 Syrian soldiers, as reported by Sky News Arabia.

Chairman of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) Ramy Abdel Rahman explained to Al Arabiya Al Hadath on Monday how the engagement between Turkish troops and the Syrian Armed Forces took place causing casualties among the former.

Clashes started when the Syrian army took over Jobas village western Saraqib and was moving on the road extending from Aleppo and Latakia as Turkish troops attempted to impede their advance.

As a consequence, the Syrian government forces struck at Turkish troops killing four soldiers and injuring nine others, which has triggered a response by the latter as they struck certain points in Morek town and launched a missile attack from Sanjak of Alexandretta against the former.

Abdel Rahman said that four Turkish military convoys were trying to establish a new control point in Jobas but retreated after the Syrian government forces captured the town and struck them. The Turkish convoys headed west and probably have as destination Arihah town.

SOHR also affirmed that around 200 Turkish military vehicles entered Syrian territories early on Monday and are heading towards Idlib and Aleppo. SOHR had revealed on Sunday that a huge Turkish military convoy entered Syria from Kafr Lusain crossing, and that 54 Syrian soldiers and 40 militants died in clashes in Aleppo and Idlib.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that Turkish troops were hit because of not notifying Russia of their operations northwestern Idlib, Reuters reported citing TASS. Nevertheless, the ministry added that Turkish aircrafts did not cross Syrian borders or hit any Syrian forces.

SOHR also negated that Turkey had targeted more than 40 Syrian Armed Forces targets by F16 fighter jets.

On Sunday, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria declared that the defenses of Khmeimim Air Base detected and obstructed drones that were launched from Idlib’s de-escalation area towards the base. The center has called upon armed groups to abandon provocations and seek a peaceful settlement.

The Syrian Armed Forces freed on Sunday three villages in southeastern Idlib after fierce battles with armed groups, and are now going after defeated militants. The liberated villages include Anqrati, Kafr Battikh, and Kafr Dadikh.

SOHR reported the death of three civilians by an airstrike against Sarmin, and a woman by a Russian airstrike against Al Atarib. The number of fatalities may rise since a number of the injured are in critical conditions.

Raids and barrel bomb attacks persist in Saraqib, Sarmin, Al Nerba, Afes, Hass and other villages in the eastern and southeastern of Idlib. Also, Russian strikes continue in different zones of Idlib.

SOHR reported that numbers of airstrikes by Russian and Syrian jets are 73 and 86, respectively. The former targeted places in Atarib and the outskirts of Anjara in the west of Aleppo, Al-Qanater, Al-Kammari and Arnaz in the southern countryside of Aleppo, Taftanaz, the perimeter of Taftanaz Military Airbase, Saraqeb, Sarmin, the outskirts of Areha, Al-Nayrab, Binnish and Al-Mastuma in Idlib countryside. The latter struck Areha, Sarmin, Saraqeb, Al-Nayrab, Tal Sultan, Afes, Qumaynisan and other areas east and south-east of Idlib.

Syrian helicopters also dropped 64 barrel bombs on areas in Saraqeb, Sarmin, Al-Nayrab, Mantaf, the vicinity of Areha and Saraqeb countryside, while the ground forces fired hundreds of rockets and shells on Aleppo, Idlib, Hama and Latakia countryside.

Four children and three females out of nine injured civilians were killed in a strike by Syrian jets against a vehicle carrying evacuated people in Jam’eyyat Al-Rahal in the western countryside of Aleppo.
]]>
2/4/2020 4:32:54 PM
<![CDATA[UN envoy reports positive start to Libya talks in Geneva]]>
Military officers of rival factions from the North African country began UN-led talks in Geneva on Monday, aimed at building trust and working out a monitoring mechanism for a ceasefire after ten months of fighting on the outskirts of the capital, Tripoli.

Salamé said the two sides initiated indirect talks "on transforming truce into a lasting" ceasefire and that there was a "genuine will to start negotiating together".

He thanked Switzerland for its "precious help" in organizing the Geneva meeting.

The so-called "Libyan Joint Military Commission" includes five senior officers from eastern commander Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) and five officers from the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). ]]>
2/4/2020 2:45:58 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian amb. denies evacuation of diplomatic mission from China ]]>
In a phone call on DMC channel, Badry denounced these rumors, adding that such news aims to create confusion.

The ambassador clarified that the number of those who died of coronavirus reached 350 individuals in China, saying: "We must take action, but it should not be portrayed as the end of the world."

He asserted that the two Egyptians who were prevented to travel from China to Egypt are safe from coronvirus.



]]>
2/4/2020 2:01:46 PM
<![CDATA[Medical equipment to receive Egyptians from China cost $65M: Min.]]>
Zayed’s remarks came during a phone call on Sada al-Balad channel. The minister added that those Egyptians will be quarantined for 14 days to make sure that they are safe from coronavirus. She also said that the hospital has 59 ICU beds, and 59 artificial respiration units.

a

Zayed confirmed that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered the provision of the highest standards for the returning Egyptians without regard to cost.



"The plane returned on Monday at 1 p.m. carrying more than 300 Egyptians; the quarantine rooms are fully equipped," Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar told Extra News channel on Sunday, Feb.2.

a

The plane crew was trained to deal with the passengers and was given appropriate clothes for the task. "Six doctors accompanied them on board during the trip," he added.

Manar pointed out that quarantine doctors were dispatched to all airports to deal with passengers who had passed through countries that reported cases infected with the coronavirus.

In January, Ambassador Liao Liqiang said that no cases were reported among the Chinese community in Egypt, and the Chinese tourists will be leaving Egypt in five days. He added that no cases were detected amongest the Egyptian students in China.

Spokesperson of the Health Ministry Khaled Mugahed also said no coronavirus patients have been recorded in Egypt.

The Ministry of Health launched campaigns in seven governorates in Egypt to check Chinese restaurants and to activate means of health control in conjunction with the panic that is sweeping the world from the coronavirus.
]]>
2/4/2020 1:41:15 PM
<![CDATA[Abiy Ahmed: Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan close to solutions to GERD issues]]>
“Since the involvement of the observers, it is encouraging that we [Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt] seem to get close to obtaining solutions to the issues that used to take extended time,” he was quoted as saying by the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) when he gave a speech at a hearing session by the Ethiopian parliament on Monday.

Ahmed added that his country will never sign an agreement that harms his country’s national interests or any Nile downstream countries.

In a tour he made in the site of the dam construction on the Blue Nile River, Ahmed praised the progress of the dam construction.



After a four-day negotiation in Washington D.C on January 28-31, the three countries reached an agreement on only three points of contention regarding the construction of the controversial dam.

They agreed on a schedule that includes a plan for filling Dam in stages, and on mechanisms for dealing with droughts, prolonged droughts, and years of water scarcity during the process of filling the dam, and during the dam operation.

The US drafted a document of agreement regarding the three above-mentioned points and was unilaterally signed by Egypt.

The disagreement between the three states dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Cairo has voiced its concerns that building the dam could harm its 55.5 billion cubic meters share as 80 percent of Egypt’s share comes from the Blue Nile and Ethiopian Heights, while Ethiopia says it is necessary for its development and electricity production. However, the three countries reached an initial deal in 2015, announcing the “Declaration of Principle,” per which the dam should cause any harm to the Nile downstream countries.
]]>
2/3/2020 8:36:50 PM
<![CDATA[SOHR reveals details of Turkish-Syrian clashes in Idlib]]>
Clashes started when the Syrian army took over Jobas village western Saraqib and was moving on the road extending from Aleppo and Latakia as Turkish troops attempted to impede their advancement.

As a consequence, the Syrian government forces struck at Turkish troops killing four soldiers and injuring nine others, which has triggered a response by the latter as they struck certain points in Morek town and launched a missile attack from Sanjak of Alexandretta against the former.

Abdel Rahman said that four Turkish military convoys were trying to establish a new control point in Jobas but retreated after the Syrian government forces captured the town and struck them. The Turkish convoys headed west and probably have as destination Arihah town.

SOHR also affirmed that around 200 Turkish military vehicles entered Syrian territories early on Monday and are heading towards Idlib and Aleppo. SOHR had revealed on Sunday that a huge Turkish military convoy entered Syria from Kafr Lusain crossing, and that 54 Syrian soldiers and 40 militants died in clashes in Aleppo and Idlib.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that Turkish troops were hit because of not notifying Russia of their operations northwestern Idlib, Reuters reported citing TASS. Nevertheless, the ministry added that Turkish aircrafts did not cross Syrian borders or hit any Syrian forces.

SOHR also negated that Turkey had targeted more than 40 Syrian Armed Forces targets by F16 fighter jets.

On Sunday, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria declared that the defenses of Khmeimim Air Base detected and obstructed drones that were launched from Idlib’s de-escalation area towards the base. The center has called upon armed groups to abandon provocations and seek a peaceful settlement.

The Syrian Armed Forces freed on Sunday three villages in southeastern Idlib after fierce battles with armed groups, and are now going after defeated militants. The villages liberated are Anqrati, Kafr Battikh, and Kafr Dadikh.

SOHR reported the death of three civilians by an airstrike against Sarmin, and a woman by a Russian airstrike against Al Atarib. The number of fatalities may rise since a number of the injured are in critical conditions.

Raids and barrel bomb attacks persist in Saraqib, Sarmin, Al Nerba, Afes, Hass and other villages in the eastern and southeastern of Idlib. Also, Russian strikes continue in different zones of Idlib.

SOHR reported that numbers of airstrikes by Russian and Syrian jets are 73 and 86, respectively. The former targeted places in Atarib and the outskirts of Anjara in the west of Aleppo, Al-Qanater, Al-Kammari and Arnaz in the southern countryside of Aleppo, Taftanaz, the perimeter of Taftanaz Military Airbase, Saraqeb, Sarmin, the outskirts of Areha, Al-Nayrab, Binnish and Al-Mastuma in Idlib countryside. The latter struck Areha, Sarmin, Saraqeb, Al-Nayrab, Tal Sultan, Afes, Qumaynisan and other areas east and south-east of Idlib.

Syrian helicopters also dropped 64 barrel bombs on areas in Saraqeb, Sarmin, Al-Nayrab, Mantaf, the vicinity of Areha and Saraqeb countryside while the ground forces fired hundreds of rockets and shells on Aleppo, Idlib, hama and Latakia countryside.
Four children and three females out of nine injured civilians were killed in a strike by Syrian jets against a vehicle carrying evacuated people in Jam’eyyat Al-Rahal in the western countryside of Aleppo.

]]>
2/3/2020 6:10:16 PM
<![CDATA[Organization of Islamic Cooperation rejects US peace plan]]>
The announcement came during the extraordinary meeting at the level of foreign ministers of the member states of the OIC in Saudi Arabia's Jeddah, few days after US President Donald Trump revealed the details of his plan which allows Israel to annex the West Bank settlements and is highly-welcome by the Israeli side.

The OIC reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian people in its struggle to restore its legitimate rights, including the establishment of its sovereign and independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki earlier during the meeting reiterated rejection of Trump's peace plan as talks to reach that deal did not involve the Palestinian side.

Maliki described the plan as unilateral, unacceptable and biased towards the Israeli side, saying it would eliminate all opportunities for peace, end the aspiration of the Palestinian people to establish its independent and sovereign state.

Trump's peace plan violates international law, Maliki said, adding that it obliges the Palestinian people to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and give it control over the capabilities, security and borders of the Palestinian state. It also paves the way for the policy of illegal annexation of Palestinian lands to continue, and cancels any commitment to international law, he noted.]]>
2/3/2020 2:28:36 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi orders gov't to scale up efforts to upgrade slum areas nationwide]]>
Sisi's remarks came made during a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli, Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities Assem el Gazzar and Presidential Adviser for Urban Planning Amir Sayed Ahmed, according to a statement issued by Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady.

Gazzar briefed the president on the ongoing efforts to improve shanty areas and support social housing projects in a sustainable manner that takes into account the families' social needs in terms of education, healthcare and entertainment.

He also spoke about the implementation of an urban development plan to revamp historic Cairo by supporting commercial, cultural and tourist activities at heritage and archaeological sites and restore several areas including Maspero Triangle, Magra el-Oyoun wall and Ain al-Hayat neighborhood in the vicinity of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

Moreover, the meeting took up the progress of construction and housing projects in the New Administrative Capital, including major utilities, the business district and the Green River.

The meeting also tackled the implementation of the 4G cities and water treatment plants under-construction nationwide, the statement noted.

In June 2019, executive director of the Development Fund for Slums Khaled Siddiq said that More than half a million citizens have so far benefited from slum development.

He added that slums development will cost about LE30 billion, adding that the government has spent LE18 billion until now.

Siddiq stressed that the fund aims to provide the Egyptian citizen with a suitable place to live. He said that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi directed institutions to eliminate all slums by the end of 2019.

Siddiq pointed out that funding comes through the state's budget, pointing out that the statistics of the Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) helped identify the slum areas.

In December 2018, Siddiq remarked that Port Said, Wadi El-Gedid, Fayoum, Menoufia and Suez would become slum-free by the end of 2018, pointing out that 215,000 housing units are targeted to be developed in these areas.

President Sisi has sought to tackle housing problems in Egypt, and a plan was set to develop many unsafe areas in Cairo, which has the majority of Egypt’s slums, and to re-house residents of Egypt’s most dangerous slums. The government divided the slums into two categories. The first is the dangerous slums; the government pledged to eliminate dangerous slums by the end of 2018.

In this regard, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly witnessed on July 9 the signing ceremony of two cooperation protocols between Cairo governorate and the new Urban Communities Authority.

The protocols were signed by Cairo Governor Atef Abdel Hamid and Deputy Chairman of the NUCA Mazen Hassan in the presence of Deputy Housing Minister Assemel-Gazzar and other officials to develop El-Mawardi area, Al-SayedaZeinab.

Gazzar said that the two parties agreed on developing the unsafe area of El-Mawardi, Al-SayedaZeinab, which stretches over an area of 3.35 feddans, explaining that the protocol comes within the framework of the development project of Tal Al-Aqareb area in Al-SayedaZeinab.

Gazzar explained that Cairo governorate’s vision aims to restore the city's vital role as Egypt’s capital, and focuses on evacuating some areas in Cairo to be able to develop and use these areas in cultural and urban activities.

In May 2016, President Sisi promised to move all those living in slums to new flats over 3years as part of an ambitious project expected to cost about LE 14 billion ($790 million).

In the same context, the Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt) Fund, launched by Sisi in 2014, has been working on a three-phase strategy to eliminate Egypt’s shantytowns and re-house slum residents, including those living in Doueyka, Establ Antar and EzbetKhair Allah. The project includes 15,000 housing units to re-house 60,000 slum residents. The first two phases of Tahya Misr are comprised of 12,000 flats. The third phase opened in 2017 and is comprised of 20,000 flats.]]>
2/3/2020 12:15:19 PM
<![CDATA[Four Turkish soldiers killed in regime strikes on Syria’s Idlib]]>
It said Turkish forces retaliated against the attack and destroyed targets in the Idlib region. It added that the Syrian forces carried out the shelling despite being notified of the positions of the Turkish forces beforehand.

Three Turkish military convoys entered Syrian territory from the Kafrlosin border crossing on Sunday, according to a Syrian war monitor, two days after President Erdogan said Turkey may launch a military operation in Idlib.

Sunday’s bombardment also killed 14 civilians.

The shelling by Syrian government forces was carried out “against our elements sent as reinforcements to prevent clashes in Idlib, despite their positions being coordinated beforehand,” the Turkish defense ministry statement said.

Turkey has 12 military observation posts around Idlib, set up under a 2017 agreement with Russia and Iran. Several of them have since been surrounded by advancing Syrian regime forces.

On Friday, regime forces battled extremists and moderate opposition forces on the outskirts of Idlib’s Saraqib, which has been nearly deserted following two weeks of heightened bombardment, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.]]>
2/3/2020 12:07:44 PM
<![CDATA[Maliki: Trump's peace plan biased, harms Palestinian sovereignty]]>
His remarks came during a meeting for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Saudi Arabia's Jeddah, few days after Trump announced his controversial plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The plan recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and allows Israel to annex the West Bank settlements.

Maliki described the plan as unilateral, unacceptable and biased towards the Israeli side, saying it would eliminate all opportunities for peace, end the aspiration of the Palestinian people to establish its independent and sovereign state.

Trump's peace plan violates international law, Maliki said, adding that it obliges the Palestinian people to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and give it control over the capabilities, security and borders of the Palestinian state. It also paves the way for the policy of illegal annexation of Palestinian lands to continue, and cancels any commitment to international law, he noted.

On Saturday, Arab League (AL) Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit held a series of consultations with Arab foreign ministers, especially those taking part in the Arab ministerial meeting for the first time, to discuss the Palestinian issue.

Earlier the same day, the AL chief received Kuwait Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser al Mohammed, Sudan's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Omar Gamareldin, Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti along with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim, the chairman of the current AL session.

The meetings took up consultations regarding the updates of the Palestinian cause as well as the Middle East peace plan of President Trump.]]>
2/3/2020 11:43:29 AM
<![CDATA[Abbas hails Egyptian efforts to support Palestinians’ rights]]>
Abbas’s remarks came following a meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, a day after Abbas chaired a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, to voice rejection of Trump’s plan recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and allowing Israel to annex West Bank settlements.

During the meeting, Abbas highlighted the necessity of permanent coordination between Egypt and Palestine, Wafa news agency of the Palestinian National Authority reported.

Abbas reviewed with Kamel the latest updates of the Palestinian case, in light of the so-called “Peace of the Century” and the need to counter it on the Arabic, regional and international levels.

Sisi underscored on Saturday Cairo’s firm stance regarding the Palestinian cause, calling for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state according to international resolutions.

The Egyptian leader Sisi held talks in Cairo on Saturday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of an extraordinary Arab League foreign ministers meeting aimed at addressing US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived Friday in Egypt to attend the Arab League emergency meeting expected on Saturday.

There can be no substitute to direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, said a statement released after Sisi and Abbas’ meeting.

It stressed the need to reach an agreement on a sustainable settlement that ends the suffering of the Palestinian people, restores all of their legitimate rights and allows them to live in security, stability and peace.

Sisi added to Abbas that Egypt has always been leading efforts to achieve comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East.]]>
2/2/2020 4:58:18 PM
<![CDATA[Fugitive businessman sentenced to 5 years in jail for VAT evasion]]>
Both convicts have been fined LE 100,000 each. The court stated that the anti-government contractor should pay more than LE 41.8 million (US $2,6 million) in value added taxes, with 1.5 percent of the total tax value for every delayed month.

Ali should pay more than LE 6.1 million in sales taxes for the period between 2012 and 2016, with 0.5 percent of the total taxes as a fee for every week of delay.

On November 30, 2019, the Public Prosecution referred fugitive contractor Mohamed Ali to criminal court after Style Company for Interior Design filed a case charging him with fraud and illegal seizure of LE 11 million.

The plea in the lawsuit no. 7135/2019 adds that Style fulfilled its duties indicated in the contracts worth LE 11,765,668, and that Ali promised to pay once the value of the contract with the client is delivered. Later on, the subcontractor figured out that the client had already paid the full amount, and that it was subject to a scheme along with other companies.

Ali fled to Spain where he posted videos criticizing the regime in September, and later moved to the United Kingdom. In January 2020, Ali posted a video in which he announced that he quit politics to return to his business and acting career after his protest call failed to draw any followers among the Egyptian people.

The fugitive businessman has previously called the Egyptian people to protest on the anniversary of the January 25 revolution in 2020. However, his invitation was disregarded as the streets were empty on Saturday.]]>
2/2/2020 4:02:17 PM
<![CDATA[Canada's Trudeau to visit Africa next week, his office says]]>
Trudeau is to visit Ethiopia and Senegal, as well as Germany, before his trip ends on February 14.

In Addis Ababa he is to meet Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner appointed after several years of anti-government protests, and Sahle-Work Zewde, the country's first female president.

He will additionally meet leaders attending the African Union summit.

On the other side of the continent, in Senegal, he will meet President Macky Sall and "participate in a series of events to further our two countries' already strong ties through La Francophonie," his office said.

The final leg of the tour will take Trudeau to Germany for the Munich Security Conference.

"As we pursue our candidacy for election to the United Nations Security Council, we will continue to advance shared global interests, and unlock new opportunities for people and businesses in Canada and around the world," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

It added the visits "will focus on economic opportunity and prosperity, climate change, democracy, and gender equality".

Canada is seeking a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, a position it has not held since the year 2000.

"In a rapidly changing world, Canada needs to be a leader on the international stage," Trudeau said in the statement.

]]>
2/2/2020 6:50:58 AM
<![CDATA[Syrian Armed Forces restore 27 residential areas in Idlib]]>
U.S. special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey stated on the same day that Syrian government and Russian warplanes had hit Idlib with 200 strikes in the previous three days causing 700,000 Syrians to flee to Turkish borders.

The center revealed on the following day that the Syrian Armed Forces aborted an attack planned by Idlib militants against Hama and Aleppo. The center explained that the offensives launched by the Syrian army pushed militants to retreat to the depth of the de-escalation zone in the governorate leaving behind huge quantities of arms, ammunition, and equipment, which were likely prepared for a future assault.

The munitions confiscated and destroyed by the Syrian government forces are 11 tanks, 19 armored vehicles, 62 vehicles having heavy weapons, 4 launchers, 38 cannons, 4 drones, and others.

Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya warned on Thursday of a scheme by terrorists to launch chemical attacks against civilians and allege the government forces of committing the crime, as reported by RT Arabic.

On the same day, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the death of 211 Syrian soldiers and the injury of 300 since January 9 because of militants assaults. As for civilians, 121 were killed and 254 were wounded.

The Arab Syrian Army restored control over Ma`arat al-Nu`man city, which used to be Al Nusra Front stronghold southern Idlib, as well as Wadi Deif Base.

The victory was followed by the capture of Kafar Roma town bordering Ma`arat al-Nu`man, and other 15 villages and towns in the area in addition to blocking the road between Ma`arat al-Nu`man and Saraqib city.

Most territories in Idlib fall within a de-escalation zone that includes parts of Homs, Latakia, and Aleppo, and houses 12 Turkish control points.

The militants have been attacking the Syrian Armed Forces sites since December triggering counterattacks that liberated hundreds of square kilometers from armed groups.
]]>
2/1/2020 5:42:52 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi affirms Egypt’s 'firm stance' on Palestinian cause]]>
The Egyptian leader Sisi held talks in Cairo on Saturday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of an extraordinary Arab League foreign ministers meeting aimed at addressing US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived Friday in Egypt to attend the Arab League emergency meeting expected on Saturday.

There can be no substitute to direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, said a statement released after Sisi and Abbas’ meeting.

It stressed the need to reach an agreement on a sustainable settlement that ends the suffering of the Palestinian people, restores all of their legitimate rights and allows them to live in security, stability and peace.

Sisi added to Abbas that Egypt has always been leading efforts to achieve comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East.

Egypt has adopted peaceful coexistence and renounced violence as a strategic and solid approach to its policy for more than 40 years.

For his part, Abbas expressed his appreciation to Egypt’s sincere efforts in supporting the Palestinian cause, hailing Cairo’s historic role to that end.

He also hailed its “intense efforts to push forward national reconciliation and trust building between Palestinian factions in order for them to unite their ranks during this critical time.”

On Friday, Abbas held talks with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who stressed that Arab nations and the Palestinians will succeed in responding to the US peace plan.

Aboul Gheit expressed confidence that the Arab nation would resist and reject this proposal because it fall short of Palestinian demands, reiterating support for the 2002 Arab peace initiative.

Abbas had rejected the peace plan shortly after it was unveiled on Tuesday.

“We say a thousand no's to the Deal of The Century," he declared.
]]>
2/1/2020 3:40:00 PM
<![CDATA[Arms embargo violations persist in Libya]]>
Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salame decried on Thursday the presence of foreign militants in the country without indicating their nationalities stating that the arms embargo violations recorded 110.

A French military source told AFP on Thursday that Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier spotted on Wednesday a Turkish frigate escorting a cargo ship, called Bana and sailing under a Lebanese Flag, delivering armored vehicles to Tripoli, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

The publication also reported the statements of “an informed source” revealing that Turkey started establishing a military base in Mitiga airport, the only functional airport western Libya since 2014, and that Turkish military and intelligence personnel are present in the intended base.

The source added that Turkish officers contribute in running the operations command center of militias protecting the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is a non-elected UN-recognized interim government.

Asharq Al-Awsat also mentioned reports on Turkey’s endeavors to hire more mercenaries and militants from Kenya and Somalia to back the GNA.

In the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting, GNA’s ambassador to the United Nations Taher El Sonni accused France of providing the Libyan National Army (LNA) with Javelin missiles. He also alleged the UAE of breaching UNSC resolutions 11 times in Libya by giving LNA armoured vehicles, air defence system and drones, as reported by The Libya Observer.

The United Kingdom communicated with fellow UN Security Council members an amended draft on Libya calling for mercenaries withdrawal from Libya and asserting the importance of the role of the African Union (AU) and the Arab League, as reported by AFP.

The initial draft released on January 24 did not consist of any mention of mercenaries, and just highlighted the role of neighboring countries and regional organizations in conflict resolution.

France criticized Turkey’s intervention in Libya, and decided to send warships eastern the Mediterrenean amid rising tensions between the latter and Greece over gas reserves.

Possible confrontation with Turkish vessel in Greek continental shelf: media

CAIRO - 31 January 2020: Greek frigate HS Nikiforos Fokas headed towards a Turkish research vessel in the Mediterranean, Greek media reported, after the vessel reportedly entered Greece's continental shelf area. Greek officials have expressed their readiness to counter the Turkish ship sailing east of Crete and western Cyprus.




“I want to express my concerns with regard to the behaviour of Turkey at the moment … We have seen during these last days Turkish warships accompanied by Syrian mercenaries arrive on Libyan soil. This is an explicit and serious infringement of what was agreed [at last week’s peace conference] in Berlin. It’s a broken promise,” French President Emmanuel Macron stated, according to The Guardian.

LNA lies 100 km from Misrata's center: Spox

CAIRO - 27 January 2020: The Libyan National Army (LNA) declared on Sunday that it lies 100 kilometers away from Misrata's center and that fighting broke out in southern Tripoli in Al Hadaba and Abu Salim. The LNA affirmed taking over Al Qaddahiyah, Al Hisha, and Abou Grin villages eastern Misrata confiscating military vehicles and capturing some members of militias.




The recommendation of the Berlin conference held on January 19 is that no foreign country shall interfere in the Libyan issue.
]]>
2/1/2020 2:46:56 PM
<![CDATA[Last train to Europe: all aboard the Eurostar as Britain bids goodbye]]>
Martin Kavanagh, a security consultant, crammed his tall frame into a window seat and contemplated Britain’s uncertain journey ahead after ending 47 years of European Union membership.

“It is just the saddest day, ever,” he said, heading for Paris to watch England play France at rugby. “It sends a message to the rest of the world that we are turning inwards when we should be looking out.”

Bayan Patel, a 27-year-old British dentist on the way to Paris for a short break with his Spanish fiancee, said Britain’s distinctiveness should be celebrated and there is too much pessimism about Brexit.

“We can stand on our two feet,” he said. “Leaving the EU might turn out to be a fantastic decision. Right now people are focusing too much on the negatives.”

DESTINATION UNKNOWN
The last Eurostar before Britain’s historic exit left London’s St Pancras station at 8.10 p.m. (2010 GMT) on Friday.

There were no extra checks at customs. A transition period preserves Britain’s EU membership in all but name until 2021.

There were no protests, celebrations or tears on the journey. There was no official announcement over the intercom as the train went into the tunnel under the Channel.

Many passengers said this felt like just another train ride. But it was not.

The Britain the train left behind will undergo the most significant change to its place in the world in its recent history.

The EU it arrived in faces a huge challenge to its project of forging unity after World War Two now that it has lost such a rich, powerful member state.

“No one wins from this, we will all be worse off,” said Alan Ron, a 35-year-old French citizen who works in London and was returning home to visit friends and family.

GRAND AMBITIONS
The idea of a tunnel between Britain and France has been around for centuries. In 1802, a French engineer envisaged a tunnel with horse-drawn carriages, illuminated by oil lamps and ventilated by chimneys poking above the surface of the Channel.

But Victorian-era British Prime Minister John Palmerston dismissed the idea because “it would shorten a distance we already find too short”.

It took a further 192 years after the first detailed plans were submitted to complete the job.

Now the future of the Eurostar is uncertain. The service was seen as a symbol of a Europe without borders, but it has failed to meet expectations – especially in terms of passenger numbers.

The ease of travel the train has depended on - with quick immigration checks for British and EU passport holders - seems certain to change.

The British and French government have warned that if the EU fails to agree an amicable trade deal then the Eurostar may be brought to a standstill.

French passenger Jean-Marc Charles, a 47-year-old IT manager, struck a note of optimism, saying he hoped Britain might rejoin the EU before too long.

“This could be just a short goodbye,” he said “We hope that you will be back with us soon.”]]>
2/1/2020 1:13:29 PM
<![CDATA[Final vote in Trump trial to be held on Wednesday]]>
The Senate leaders struck an agreement to hold the final vote to acquit Trump on the two articles of impeachment on Wednesday, following a debate throughout the day on Friday about how to bring the trial to a close

The impeachment trial will resume on Monday.

The Senate approved a resolution Friday evening from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laying out the final steps for the trial. ]]>
2/1/2020 12:59:19 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia agree on 3 points of contention over Renaissance Dam]]>
The three countries agreed on the following:

1- A schedule that includes a plan for filling Dam in stages.
2- A mechanism for dealing with droughts, prolonged droughts, and years of water scarcity during the process of filling the dam.
3- A mechanism for dealing with droughts, prolonged droughts, and years of water scarcity during the dam operation.

The US drafted a document of agreement regarding the three above-mentioned points and was unilaterally signed by Egypt, the statement said.

In addition to this, the three countries agreed on the importance of completing negotiations and reaching an agreement regarding the mechanism of the dam operation during the normal hydrological conditions, said the statement, adding that they will resume the talks on the mechanism of monitoring and following up the implementation of the agreement, the exchange of data and information, and on the mechanism of dispute settlement.

They also agreed to address the issues related to the dam safety and to complete the studies on the environmental and social impacts of the dam construction, the statement said.

The scientific and legal committees of every country have been tasked to resume the negotiations for reaching a final agreement, the statement stated, adding that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Water Resources will meet again on February 12-13 in Washington D.C. to approve the final draft of the agreement before the signature due late February 2020.

Egypt voiced its appreciation to the efforts exerted by the US Administration and US President Donal Trump to reach a comprehensive, fair and balanced agreement that cares for the interests of the three Nile countries.

Egypt also paid gratitude to US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and World Bank President David Malpass who brokered the negotiations.

Over the period between January 28 and 31, the ministers held a series of meetings, to reach a final agreement on the disputed points after they achieved a breakthrough in US,WB-brokered meetings on January 13-15 to end a nine years of dispute over the $5-billion dam.

The disagreement between the three states dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Cairo has voiced its concerns that building the dam could harm its 55.5 billion cubic meters share as 80 percent of Egypt’s share comes from the Blue Nile and Ethiopian Heights, while Ethiopia says it is necessary for its development and electricity production. However, the three countries reached an initial deal in 2015, announcing the “Declaration of Principle,” per which the dam should cause any harm to the Nile downstream countries.
]]>
1/31/2020 10:20:42 PM
<![CDATA[Renaissance dam talks resume in Washington for 3rd day: Egypt]]>
“Washington negotiations on Renaissance Dam are still ongoing ... The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Water Resources participate in the meetings that convene upon an invitation from the American Administration for Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in the presence of the World Bank, to a comprehensive agreement on the rules for filling and operating Renaissance Dam,” Hafez siad in a Twitter post.



The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Water Resources of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia are holding a series of meetings, in presence of representatives from the US Department of Treasury and the World Bank, to reach a final agreement on the disputed points regarding the GERD construction, after the three countries failed to reach an agreement on operating the dam and filling its reservoir with Nile Water early January 2020.

However, the three countries were invited to resume the negotiations in Washington on January 13-15, 2020 when they finally achieved a breakthrough and agreed on an agreement concerning the technical and scientific problems on the dam construction, saying that January 28-29 meetings aim to “finalize a comprehensive agreement” on the dam.

The points that are subjected to the final agreement are the following as per a statement from the US treasury:

The filling of the GERD will be executed in stages and will be undertaken in an adaptive and cooperative manner that takes into consideration the hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile and the potential impact of the filling on downstream reservoirs.

Filling will take place during the wet season, generally from July to August, and will continue in September subject to certain conditions.

The initial filling stage of the GERD will provide for the rapid achievement of a level of 595 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.) and the early generation of electricity, while providing appropriate mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan in case of severe droughts during this stage.

The subsequent stages of filling will be done according to a mechanism to be agreed that determines release based upon the hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile and the level of the GERD that addresses the filling goals of Ethiopia and provides electricity generation and appropriate mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan during prolonged periods of dry years, drought and prolonged drought.

During long term operation, the GERD will operate according to a mechanism that determines release based upon the hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile and the level of the GERD that provides electricity generation and appropriate mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan during prolonged periods of dry years, drought and prolonged drought.
An effective coordination mechanism and provisions for the settlement of disputes will be established.


The disagreement between the three states dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Cairo has voiced its concerns that building the dam could harm its 55.5 billion cubic meters share as 80 percent of Egypt’s share comes from the Blue Nile and Ethiopian Heights, while Ethiopia says it is necessary for its development and electricity production. However, the three countries reached an initial deal, announcing the “Declaration of Principle,” per which the dam should cause any harm to the Nile downstream countries.
]]>
1/31/2020 4:38:28 PM
<![CDATA[Britain hails new start as it says farewell to EU]]>
At the clocks strike 11:00 pm -- midnight in Brussels (2300 GMT) -- Britain becomes the first country to leave the 28-member bloc and goes it alone for the first time since 1973.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backed Brexit since the 2016 referendum vote to leave that triggered bitterness and division but he has promised to lead the country to a bright new future.

Official celebrations will be muted out of respect for half the population who wanted to stay in the EU and who remain fearful of what lies ahead.

"Our job as the government, my job, is to bring this country together and take us forward," Johnson said in a statement to mark the historic occasion.

He added: "This is not an end but a beginning. This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act."

Nothing will immediately feel different thanks to a transition period negotiated as part of an EU-UK exit deal, which was ratified only this week.

Britons will be able to work in and trade freely with EU nations until December 31, and vice versa, although the UK will no longer be represented in the bloc's institutions.

But legally, Britain is out -- with no easy way back.

And while the exit terms have been agreed, Britain must still strike a deal on future relations with the EU, its largest trading partner.

Divided country



Getting this far has been a traumatic process.

Despite Britain's resistance to many EU projects over the years -- it refused to join the single currency or the Schengen free travel area -- the 2016 vote to leave was a huge shock.

It unleashed political chaos in London, sparking years of bitter arguments that paralysed parliament and forced the resignations of two prime ministers.

Johnson brought an end to the turmoil with his decisive election victory last month, which gave him the parliamentary majority to ratify the Brexit deal.

But Britons remain as divided as they were nearly four years ago, when 52 percent voted to leave but 48 percent voted to remain in the EU.

Johnson himself is a polarising figure but he has emphasised unity and is avoiding any major celebrations that might exacerbate divisions.

He will first host a special cabinet meeting in the northeastern English city of Sunderland, which was the first to declare for Brexit in the 2016 vote.

At 10:00 pm, he will broadcast an address to the nation, and then host a reception for staff at his 10 Downing Street office.

A light show will also be held outside No 10, while millions of commemorative 50 pence coins are being minted to mark the occasion.

On them is the message: "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations."

By contrast Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader who has spent decades campaigning to leave the EU, is planning a large rally in nearby Parliament Square.

He gave a triumphant speech on Wednesday, his last day as a member of the European Parliament, waving Union Jack flags and declaring that Britain was "never coming back".

But afterwards, many MEPs bade Britain an emotional goodbye and broke into a chorus of the traditional Scottish song of farewell, "Auld Lang Syne".

Brussels' Grand-Place was on Thursday lit in red, white and blue.

Trade talks loom



British eurosceptics have campaigned for decades to free their country from what they see as an overly bureaucratic and unaccountable institution.

Johnson has promised to leave the EU's single market and customs union, giving Britain the freedom to forge trade deals around the world.

But exactly how that will work -- and at what cost to firms that depend on EU business -- remains to be seen.

The EU divorce deal resolved the issue of London's debts, the rights of EU expatriates, the status of Northern Ireland and the transition period.

But Johnson has given himself just 11 months -- to the end of the transition -- to negotiate a new EU partnership, covering everything from trade to security cooperation.

He will set out his plans in a speech early next week but Brussels has already warned he must either limit his ambitions or ask for more time.

Johnson also wants a trade deal with the United States, where President Donald Trump is a huge supporter of Brexit.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hailed the potential opportunities during a visit to London on Thursday, saying: "You will see the enormous benefits that accrued to both of our nations as a result of this."

]]>
1/31/2020 6:42:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt, France discuss US-drafted ‘Deal of the Century’]]>plan of peace agreement [aka the Deal of the Century] between the Palestinians and the Israelis, according to a statement from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

“The call focused on the U.S. peace plan and joint efforts between Egypt and France to promote peace efforts, in addition to close coordination during the coming period in connection with the two countries’ common vision towards achieving a just and comprehensive peace and stability in the region,” said Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez said in a statement.

He added that the phone call tackled the Libyan turmoil and the outcomes of Berlin Conference on Libya, saying “In this context, they affirmed their rejection of foreign intervention in Libya, whereby the French Minister outlined the recent statements by the President of France in this regard.” Both sides also agreed to meet soon to discuss the issues of mutual concern and bilateral relations, he continued.

Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, Trump presented his peace plan on Middle East, giving Israel the right to annex West Bank settlements and to have Jerusalem as its capital, a move that initially angered many Arab countries when announced late in 2017.

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement issued Tuesday that Egypt appreciates the American efforts to realize a comprehensive and fair peaceful resolution for the Palestinian cause in a way that contributes to the stability and security of the Middle East.

“Egypt values the American administration’s initiative to reach a fair settlement for the Palestinian cause in a way that restores the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights that include the establishment of an independent state with full sovereignty over the occupied lands in accordance with the International legitimacy,” read the statement.

Therefore, Egypt calls on the two relevant parties to undertake a careful and thorough consideration of the US vision to achieve peace and open channels of dialogue, under US auspices, for the resumption of negotiations to present their respective views on reaching an agreement that satisfies the aspirations of both peoples to achieve a comprehensive and just peace and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar took a similar stance and made carefully worded statements that all look almost the same.

The Cairo-based Arab League will hold an emergency meeting on the ministerial level on Saturday upon an invitation from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who will attend the meeting, said Palestine's permanent representative to the Arab League and the Ambassador to Egypt Diab al-Louh in a statement.
]]>
1/30/2020 4:05:29 PM
<![CDATA[China ready to play constructive role to restore peace in Syria: envoy]]>
"China stands ready to play a constructive role towards the early restoration of peace, stability and development in Syria," Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told a Security Council meeting on the political process in Syria.

"China applauds the good offices of the special envoy (Geir Pedersen) and the constructive participation of the Syrian parties. We support the special envoy in stepping up the communication with the Syrian Government to listen to the government's legitimate requests," Wu said.

"All countries must combat terrorism in all its forms in accordance with relevant Council resolutions and international law, and by applying one single standard. Otherwise, Syria as well as the region of West Asia and North Africa will have no peace," said Wu.

"The international community should, on the one hand, move over the political process, and on the other, help improve Syria's economic and humanitarian situation," he added.]]>
1/30/2020 2:25:42 PM
<![CDATA[Algeria rejects Trump’s plan recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital]]>
In a statement published on Wednesday, the Algerian Foreign Ministry referred to the declaration of Trump’s “so-called Deal of the Century,” and affirmed sticking to the Arab Peace Initiative endorsed by the League of Arab States in 2002 at the Beirut Summit.

The Algerian ministry also affirmed abiding by the Palestinian people’s “inalienable” right to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, according to the statement.

Algeria called for unifying the Palestinian stance and highlighted the need for coordination of joint work of Arab and international communities, in order to break the deadlock of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has lasted for dozens of years.

Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, Trump presented his peace plan on Middle East, giving Israel the right to annex West Bank settlements and to have Jerusalem as its capital, a move that initially angered many Arab countries when announced late in 2017.



The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement issued Tuesday that Egypt appreciates the American efforts to realize a comprehensive and fair peaceful resolution for the Palestinian cause in a way that contributes to the stability and security of the Middle East.

“Egypt values the American administration’s initiative to reach a fair settlement for the Palestinian cause in a way that restores the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights that include the establishment of an independent state with full sovereignty over the occupied lands in accordance with the International legitimacy,” read the statement.

Therefore, Egypt calls on the two relevant parties to undertake a careful and thorough consideration of the US vision to achieve peace and open channels of dialogue, under US auspices, for the resumption of negotiations.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar took a similar stance and made carefully worded statements that all look almost the same.


Additional reporting by Et Staff]]>
1/30/2020 1:01:12 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Merkel urge resumption of Palestinian-Israeli talks sponsored by US]]>
Trump's long-awaited peace plan on Middle East gives Israel the right to annex West Bank settlements and to have Jerusalem as its capital, a move that initially angered many Arab countries when announced late in 2017.

In a phone call, Sisi and Merkel also stressed the need to consider both the Paestinian and Israeli visions, with the aim of reaching an agreement that achieves comprehensive and just peace, in accordance with the provisions of the international legitimacy, and in a way that restores full legitimate rights of the Palestinian peace and backs security of the Middle East, the Presidency said in a statement.

The two leaders also discussed the Libyan conflict 10 days after the conclusion of Berlin conference which brought parties of the conflict together with world leaders and agreed to sponsor ceasefire in the war-torn country.

Sisi and Merkel agreed on the need to back the United Nations' efforts to implement the outcome of the conference, in order to reach a comprehensive solution to the Libyan crisis and to restore stability in Libya.

The Egyptian president hailed Merkel's efforts to settle the Libyan crisis. Merkel, for her part, praised Sisi's positive efforts to resolve the crisis and affirmed Germany's keenness to coordinate with Egypt on various regional and international issues of mutual concern. ]]>
1/29/2020 10:24:49 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, European Council president discuss Palestinian issue ]]>
In a phone on Wednesday evening, Michel and Sisi agreed on the need to intensify efforts to achieve peace and settlement to the Palestinian cause, in a way that restores full legitimate rights of the Palestinian people through the establishment of an independent and sovereign state, and supports the security and stability of the Middle East, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said in a statement.

They also discussed issues of mutual concern between Egypt and the European Union, and reviewed ways to boost cooperation on all levels and to combat illegal immigration and terrorism.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday presented his peace plan on Middle East, giving Israel the right to annex West Bank settlements and to have Jerusalem as its capital, a move that initially angered many Arab countries when announced late in 2017.

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement issued Tuesday that Egypt appreciates the American efforts to realize a comprehensive and fair peaceful resolution for the Palestinian cause in a way that contributes to the stability and security of the Middle East.

“Egypt values the American administration’s initiative to reach a fair settlement for the Palestinian cause in a way that restores the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights that include the establishment of an independent state with full sovereignty over the occupied lands in accordance with the International legitimacy,” read the statement.

Therefore, Egypt calls on the two relevant parties to undertake a careful and thorough consideration of the US vision to achieve peace and open channels of dialogue, under US auspices, for the resumption of negotiations to present their respective views on reaching an agreement that satisfies the aspirations of both peoples to achieve a comprehensive and just peace and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.]]>
1/29/2020 9:10:13 PM
<![CDATA[Ethiopia started dam project after Egypt's 2011 uprising: Abul Gheit]]>
In a seminar held on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 51st edition of the annual Cairo International Book Fair in Fifth Settlement district, Abul Gheit said that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi managed to get things back on the right track concerning the dam issue, adding that some indications show that it is possible to reach a solution that satisfy all parties, preserve Egypt's water right and Ethiopia's right in development.

Egypt, before January 2011, had always been attentive concerning the issue of water scarcity and had exerted much effort to preserve the Nile river water, the Egyptian politician said, adding that Egypt, following the popular uprising that ousted Mubarak, lost balance, and therefore, Ethiopia acted unilaterally in terms of Nile water.

Concerning Libya, Abul Gheit called on Arab countries to consolidate efforts to save the war-torn country. He warned of the situation in Syria which he said it needs around $500 billion to be rehabilitated, adding that the World Bank think it needs up to $900 billion to be rebuilt.

Abul Gheit also referred to Egypt's readiness to face various international challenges facing Egypt, such as the new deadly coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan city in central China. He affirmed that the Egyptian state has plans to deal with the virus as it poses a possible threat.

GERD talks

The agreement reached between the three Nile countries earlier in January came after nine years of disagreements and discussions between them, as Egypt has voiced concerns over its water share.

Foreign Ministers and Water Ministers of the three countries held a series of three-day meetings at the US Department of Treasury in Washington on January 13-15 after they had reached a deadlock at the end of the US, WB-brokered discussions held in the period between November 15, 2019, and January 9, 2020.

At the end of the meetings which were attended by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and President of the World Bank David Malpass in Washington, the three countries reached an agreement on all different points regarding the filling and operation of the $4-billion dam, which locates on the Blue Nile.


Additional reporting by Egypt Today Staff]]>
1/29/2020 7:44:30 PM
<![CDATA[Will of both sides strongly needed to achieve peace in Middle East: Abul Gheit]]>
About the long-awaited peace plan announced by US President Donald Trump, Abul Gheit said we are thoroughly studying the unbinding US vision. We are open to any serious effort made to achieve peace.

Based on the first reading of the plan, Abul Gheit said the blueprint totally wastes legitimate Palestinian rights on the ground.

Just peace cannot be realized by ignoring Palestinian rights and the fact that Israeli forces have been occupying the Palestinian territories since 1967, he said.

The main criteria to judge any peace plan is to see how far it runs in line with international law and principles of justice, Abul Gheit said.

Any serious plan should meet aspirations of both sides and proposed concessions should be offered by Palestinians and Israelis alike, he added.

The Arab stance towards the plan will be mainly based on the Palestinian response, he said, adding that the Arab League Council will meet at a ministerial level Saturday.

The Arab League understands the US desire to help settle the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict but any applicable solution should put into consideration the aspirations of both sides, he said.

He referred to the Arab peace initiative that was previously put forward by the Arab countries to settle the conflict. ]]>
1/29/2020 12:28:01 PM
<![CDATA[Anti-Turkey leaked comments overthrew Qatari prime minister: Sources]]>
Qatari sources, who refused to say their names, explained to Egypt Today that the prime minister was ousted after his leaked comments reached the ruling family. In the leaked comments, Nasser said he fears that this country becomes colonized by [Turkish] forces, which may refuse to leave the land in the future.

The Qatari opposition confirmed that the leak sparked outrage within the Qatari ruling family, “which has been protected by Turkish forces in Doha since 2018,” according to the sources.

Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad accepted Nasser’s resignation, adding that Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani was appointed as the new prime minister.
The sources further claimed that the new appointments at the Qatari cabinet were pushed by reports that referred to an imminent coup set to overthrow Tamim.
Since 2017, Turkey has reinforced its presence in Doha, and supported Qatar after its rift with the Gulf.]]>
1/29/2020 12:07:43 PM
<![CDATA[Trump proposes Palestinian state with capital in East Jerusalem]]>
Senior administration officials, briefing Reuters on the details of a plan the president was due to announce at the White House at mid-day, said that under Trump’s proposed Middle East peace plan the United States will recognize Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.

In exchange, Israel would agree to accept a four-year freeze on new settlement activity while Palestinian statehood is negotiated, the officials said.

Israeli-Palestinian talks broke down in 2014, and it was far from clear that the Trump plan will resuscitate them.

U.S. officials said they were braced for initial Palestinian skepticism but hoped that over time they will agree to negotiate. The plan places high hurdles for the Palestinians to overcome to reach their long-sought goal of a state.

It remains to be seen also how Israel responds, given the pressures the right-wing Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, faces going into his third attempt at re-election in less than a year.

The plan encompasses about 80 pages, 50 of them the political plan announced on Tuesday and 30 from an economic plan announced last July setting up a $50 billion economic revival plan for Palestinians, Jordan and Egypt.

The U.S. plan represented the most dramatic and detailed attempt to break the historic deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians in several years, the result of a three-year effort by Trump senior advisers Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz and former adviser Jason Greenblatt.

Trump has endorsed a proposed map outlining the two states, the officials said. The Palestinian state would be double the size of land that Palestinians currently control and would be connected by roads, bridges and tunnels, the official said.

Trump briefed Netanyahu and his rival in Israel’s March 2 elections, Blue and White Party chief Benny Gantz, in talks on Monday. Netanyahu was to appear alongside Trump for his announcement on Tuesday.

Asked what Washington was prepared to do to advance negotiations, the officials said it was up to the Palestinians to come forward and to say they are prepared to negotiate.

They said both Netanyahu and Gantz had said they were willing to support the effort.

Israeli leaders have agreed to negotiate on the basis of the Trump plan and agreed to the map, the officials said. Israel’s agreement on statehood for Palestinians is dependent on a security arrangement to protect Israelis, they said.

Israel will also take steps to ensure Muslim access to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and respect Jordan’s role regarding holy sites, the officials said.

Palestinian statehood would be dependent on Palestinians taking steps for self-government, such as respect for human rights, freedom of the press and having transparent and credible institutions, the officials said.

“In doing the map it’s incredibly difficult to try to create contiguity for a Palestinian state based on what’s happened over the past 25 years so if we don’t do this freeze now I think that their chance to ever have a state basically goes away,” said one official in reference to the growth of Jewish settlements.

“So what we’ve done is basically we’ve bought four more years for them to get their act together and try to negotiate a deal for them to become a state, and I think this is a huge opportunity for them,” the official said.

The official said the question for Palestinians is will they “come to the table and negotiate?”

If they agree to negotiate, there are some areas that can be compromised in the future, the official said without offering details.

Trump’s plan calls for Palestinians to be able to return to a future state of Palestine and creates a “generous compensation fund,” the official said.

About Israel retaining the settlements, a U.S. official said: “The plan is based on a principle that people should not have to move to accomplish peace ... But it does stop future settlement expansion which we consider to be the most realistic approach.

“The notion that hundreds of thousands of people, or tens of thousands of people, are going to be removed either forcibly or not from their homes is just not worth entertaining,” the official said.

Before the Trump announcement, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza City and Israeli troops reinforced positions near a flashpoint site between the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank.

While Israeli leaders have welcomed Trump’s long-delayed plan, Palestinian leaders had rejected it even before its official release, saying his administration was biased towards Israel.

A Netanyahu spokesman said the Israeli leader would fly to Moscow on Wednesday to brief Russian President Vladimir Putin on the proposals.

Palestinian leaders had said they were not invited to Washington, and that no plan could work without them.

On Monday Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said he would not agree to any deal that did not secure a two-state solution. That formula, the basis for many years of frustrated international peace efforts, envisages Israel co-existing with a Palestinian state.

Palestinians have refused to deal with the Trump administration in protest at such pro-Israeli policies as its moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, whose eastern half the Palestinians seek for a future capital.

The Trump administration in November reversed decades of U.S. policy when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington no longer regarded the settlements on West Bank land as a breach of international law. Palestinians and most countries view the settlements as illegal, which Israel disputes.

Both Trump and Netanyahu face political challenges at home. Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives last month and is on trial in the Senate on abuse of power charges.

On Tuesday Netanyahu was formally indicted in court on corruption charges, after he withdrew his bid for parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

Both men deny any wrongdoing.

]]>
1/28/2020 7:53:39 PM
<![CDATA[Arab Syrian Army restores major Nusra stronghold in Idlib]]>
The victory was followed by the capture of Kafar Roma town bordering Ma`arat al-Nu`man, and other 15 villages and towns in the area in addition to blocking the road between Ma`arat al-Nu`man and Saraqib city.

Most territories in Idlib fall within a de-escalation zone that includes parts of Homs, Latakia, and Aleppo, and houses 12 Turkish control points.

The militants have been attacking the Syrian Armed Forces sites since December triggering counterattacks that liberated hundreds of square kilometers from armed groups.
]]>
1/28/2020 5:49:54 PM
<![CDATA[US amb. to 'tirelessly' expand business opportunities with Egypt]]>
Below is a transcript of the U.S. ambassador's speech Tuesday

Good afternoon AmCham Members and thank you, Sherif, for that warm introduction. Thanks also to Sylvia and the whole AmCham team for the hard work that goes into putting these events together, and to the Board and Members of AmCham for sustaining the vibrant partnership with the U.S. Embassy.

As you’ve just heard, my entire career has been about forging U.S. partnerships with countries and regions to expand mutually beneficial opportunities, including with and for U.S. business. I previously worked on economic and commercial files in a number of Mediterranean countries, including Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Turkey, and gained in-depth understandings of how to realize opportunities and overcome challenges to boost trade, investment, and development.

During my time in Iraq, I worked with GE, Hill International, Cargill, and others and advocated for their projects with the government in Baghdad. As DCM in Cyprus, my team and I worked hard to grow the footprint of U.S. franchises and were in close contact with Houston-based Noble Energy as they conducted offshore seismic exploration and found gas. It’s great to come full circle ten years later and now see Noble playing a pivotal role in the development of Egypt’s energy sector. And in both Cyprus and Greece, I worked with Exxon and am delighted to report the signing just yesterday of a new contract to explore offshore here in Egypt.

All of that is to say that I’ve long been a big proponent of diplomatic commercial engagement and advocacy for U.S. companies.

As you all know, Egypt is a dynamic country with a complex economy and unique regional challenges. And I’ve been working hard over the past few months to understand the specific challenges our U.S. companies face here. And I’m still learning. But with your help I hope to be an expert advocate for your interests – because the success of U.S. businesses in Egypt is in America’s best interests. It’s good for the U.S. economy and it’s good for U.S.-Egypt relations.

As the U.S. Ambassador, I am responsible for the U.S.-Egypt relationship in all its aspects. Political, military, economic, trade, cultural, educational – it all comes across my desk. I could talk today about each of these elements, but if I did, this lunch would stretch to dinner and beyond!

So today, I want to focus on what I believe you all – as AmCham Members – are most interested in hearing from me – what we see as the opportunities for expanding and deepening our commercial engagement in Egypt.

The first and most important point is that I am, and will be, your advocate in Egypt. I will be working tirelessly to create and expand business opportunities between the United States and Egypt, and working with the Egyptian government to build an environment that attracts U.S. investment and in which a strong private sector can generate jobs and deliver the economic growth that Egypt needs. U.S. government support for your work is more important than ever, given, among other things, the support your competitors get from their governments. From the U.S. side, we will be pressing harder for you than ever before, you can count on it.

Second, the American brand is not just about U.S. foreign policy and what we do at the Embassy or in Washington. It is about what you all do as well. The quality products and services you bring to the market here. The jobs you create. The innovation and entrepreneurship you inculcate. The knowledge and technology you transfer. The corporate social responsibility projects you undertake. The improvements to Egypt’s healthcare, transportation, education, agriculture, and infrastructure that come with your investments here. American business ingenuity and partnership is part and parcel of the overall American brand. We’re in this together, and your success is our success.

Third, we have a great base to build on for more commercial engagement in the years ahead. And the trend lines are already very promising. Let’s quickly look at some numbers:

Egypt is the fourth-largest export market for U.S. goods and services in the Middle East, and the largest market for U.S. goods and services exports on the African continent. From 2017 through this past November, total U.S.-Egyptian bilateral trade grew by over 44 percent to $8.2 billion. U.S. goods exports to Egypt were $5.2 billion, up 30 percent over the past two years. Corresponding U.S. imports from Egypt were $3 billion, up 76 percent in two years. U.S. food and agricultural exports to Egypt grew 145 percent from 2017 to 2018. Equally important, Egyptian agricultural exports to the U.S. reached a record-high two-years in row, in 2018 and 2019. These figures only tell part of the story though.

When we think about commercial engagement, we should also consider the people-to-people relationships that will lay the foundation for long-term commercial partnerships. Last year, we issued over 46,000 visas to Egyptians to visit the United States. That includes 1,000 student visas, and 2,000 exchange visitor visas. These students and exchange visitors are building the relationships today that will form the bedrock of our partnership for years to come. And in the same way, the thousands of Americans who are visiting Egypt every year – many for tourism but also for business – are returning to America with a [clearer] picture of the opportunities available here.

The U.S. government provides robust support for Egypt, both bilaterally and through multilateral institutions, having invested over $80 billion in Egypt in the 40 years of our strategic partnership.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, has just celebrated its 40th year in Egypt – 40 years of partnering with the Egyptian people to improve economic growth and trade, healthcare, education, vocational training, water, sanitation, historical site preservation, and so much more.

Our military and security assistance to Egypt also remains a lasting testament to Egypt’s historic peace treaty with Israel 41 years ago and totals over $50 billion over that time span.

So, with this strong foundation, on both private business and governmental sides, there really isn’t a sector in Egypt where we don’t see opportunities for U.S. companies to be more engaged, to make more investments, and to cultivate new business opportunities. Let’s consider some of the key sectors:

Energy is one of the most promising, not just in Egypt, but across the Eastern Mediterranean region. The recent announcement by Egypt and Israel of gas deliveries via the East Mediterranean Gas pipeline is historic – congratulations to Noble Energy for their part in this success story. ExxonMobil and Chevron are entering Egypt’s dynamic upstream market. And Apache Corporation, remains one of the largest investors in the country. Egypt also offers exciting opportunities for U.S. companies in its growing renewables sector.

In transport, it’s easy to understand why Uber chose Egypt as the first country in the world in which to launch its new bus service – given this market of 100 million people needing to get somewhere every day. And General Electric and Caterpillar’s Progress Rail are helping Egypt upgrade its rail system with new locomotives.

Related to transport of course is aviation. As we see EgyptAir expand its routes in Egypt, across the region and internationally, including its new nonstop services to Washington DC, we see opportunities for Boeing and other U.S. companies to provide outstanding products and services. It was great to see EgyptAir adding new Boeing Dreamliners to its fleet last year (I recently had the privilege of flying on one – it was spectacular), and we’re looking forward to a deepening of this partnership in the years to come.

U.S. support for Egypt’s defense and security needs is another key pillar of the strategic partnership, and we are working with Egypt to ensure it has a 21st century military capability. We recognize, of course, that Egypt’s security needs go beyond what our foreign military financing can provide. So, we are working hard to make sure that U.S. companies understand Egypt’s needs and are ready to supply the highest quality products for the best price. Egypt should be buying U.S. military goods. We firmly believe in and will always advocate for these products and services because they are the world’s best. The United States currently has over 500 military equipment transfer, repair, and training cases ongoing with Egypt. These cases range from aircraft to armored vehicles to medical assistance to maritime security vessels, with a total value of over $20 billion. Last year at Egypt’s first ever International Defense Expo, the U.S. had the largest number of exhibitors from any country, with 43 companies participating. We are planning for an even stronger turnout at the next Expo.

In infrastructure, the commercial opportunities are as vast and growing as Egypt’s overall economy. With 14 smart cities being developed across Egypt, including the New Administrative Capital, these state-of-the-art developments are generating opportunities in power plant construction and operation, transport systems, water and wastewater plants, engineering and design, and major broadband installations.

Speaking of broadband, information and communications technology, ICT, is another very promising area in this country bursting with entrepreneurial spirit. The most recent ICT show attracted over 20 major U.S. vendors, who see great opportunities in helping Egypt build out a 21st century communications infrastructure. In the past two years, IBM, Microsoft, Uber, Cisco, and Honeywell have all expanded their footprint in Egypt. And Google has returned to Egypt based on positive growth prospects in the market.

In healthcare, a growing population and a health sector modernization plan present both challenges and opportunities to the government and the private sector. U.S. pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment providers have long played an important role here partnering with the Egyptian government to keep Egyptian citizens healthy. It was a U.S.-Egypt joint venture that mobilized the public and private sector and with the support of the World Bank tested 70 million Egyptians in seven years to wipe out Hepatitis C in Egypt. And we see opportunities for U.S. companies in Egypt’s plans to digitize medical records and upgrade its national health insurance plan.

Textiles continue to present important commercial opportunities for Egyptian companies to export to the U.S., which translates into opportunities for U.S. importers and clothing manufacturers. The Qualified Industrial Zone, which allows for duty-free imports to the U.S. of Egyptian products with 10.5% Israeli input, continues to expand Egypt’s textile exports to the U.S, now worth nearly a billion dollars each year and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in both of our countries. I want to underscore that the QIZ is NOT limited to textiles and that we very much want to encourage Egyptian companies to look for other opportunities to expand the use of this facility to other products.

I also want to mention our Generalized System of Preferences program, GSP, through which Egyptian companies that manufacture any one of over 3,500 different products can export them duty-free to buyers and customers in the United States. Egyptian companies currently only export $90 million to the United States under this program, so there is significant room to expand – and we want to help you do so.

And of course, we can’t overlook agriculture, which accounted for nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Egypt bilateral trade last year. From Cargill and ADM’s joint venture soybean crushing facility to Pepsi’s investment in potato production here in Egypt, U.S. companies are well-aware of the many opportunities across Egypt’s agricultural sector, including food and beverages, feedstock, and so much more. Many U.S. agribusiness associations are already active in Egypt and work closely with local firms on best practices.

Turning to entrepreneurship, the spirit of innovation is alive and well across Egypt’s economy. From the Egyptian restaurant Zooba, which recently opened a location in New York City, to the Elves concierge app which has also expanded into the U.S., Egypt has many startups on their way to becoming household names in the region and beyond. The Egyptian government, Central Bank, private sector, and multilateral institutions have all joined forces to increase the momentum of Egypt’s vibrant entrepreneurial sector. Over the past three years, the United States connected over 10,000 young entrepreneurs to financing and business development and mentoring services. We helped to establish 14 business incubators and 14 business development centers that have already helped over 800 small companies improve their business models and management skills. USAID is working with universities and technical high schools to promote entrepreneurship programs that will help the next generation of entrepreneurs enter the market.

The tourism sector also presents excellent opportunities. With tourism numbers rising back up to pre-2011 levels, including an increasing number of Americans, and with more tourists from around the world seeking a deeper, more meaningful experience in their visits to Egypt, there are new opportunities in hotel construction and transportation, among other things. This is a sector at the Embassy we plan to explore further in the months ahead.

Finally, space, outer space, the final frontier (for you Star Trek fans). Upon my arrival, I learned about an opportunity with Nilesat to launch their newest satellite into space. My team and I made a strong case for an American company, and were delighted to learn last week that Nilesat had chosen California’s SpaceX to launch their satellite. We expect to see a lot more U.S. interest in Egypt as new space-related opportunities arise.

To help translate prospects across these sectors into real investments, I am listening closely to what U.S. companies tell us about what is needed to increase engagement in Egypt.

You tell us you want to see more reliable infrastructure and a faster, more efficient customs and trade facilitation system. Egypt will need both to realize its potential as a regional trade and investment hub. As Egypt builds or upgrades its airports, roads, railways, and seaports, U.S. companies are participating with superb products and services, with financing facilitated by the Development Finance Corporation and the EXIM Bank, feasibility studies backed by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and advocacy from senior U.S. government officials. And on customs, we believe we are close to signing a Mutual Assistance Agreement, culminating years of effort. This will provide technical assistance, expertise, and possibly even funding to enhance customs clearance procedures. Additionally, USAID and the U.S. Commerce Department’s Commercial Law and Development Program are working with Egypt to train customs officers on international agreements dealing with customs valuations.

Investors are looking for clearer, more efficient regulatory structures, a streamlined and customer focused bureaucracy, and stronger protection for intellectual property. So we are working with the Egyptian National Competitiveness Council to reduce regulatory red tape and with chambers of commerce, streamlining business regulations and facilitate business licensing through one stop shops, with a particular focus on industrial licensing. On intellectual property, the Embassy is supporting the Egyptian Government’s efforts to improve its IPR protection, including through training of judges and border officials.

Businesses also tell us that they seek, and are willing to partner to develop, a more educated workforce with the technical skills needed to establish 21st century factories and production lines. Through expanding career center programs, we are connecting public universities with business leaders in order to improve the readiness of graduates to fill existing jobs. And since 2015, the U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative has provided scholarships to hundreds of talented women and men from communities throughout Egypt to study at premier Egyptian and American universities in fields crucial for sustained economic growth and development.

And business leaders also tell us that they are looking for a more open society that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship across all sectors. We have established incubators in universities across Egypt to train young Egyptians and build their entrepreneurial skills in order to launch their business ideas. And our American Cultural Center at the U.S. Embassy is full every day with hundreds of young Egyptians receiving training and certification on the latest technologies, including virtual reality design, 3D printing, and more.

Besides these specific efforts, we have many other tools at our disposal to help you, and a great team at the Embassy standing by to do so.

Select USA is a U.S. government-wide program led by the Department of Commerce that has facilitated more than $64 billion in investment. Last year, for the first time, we had an official Egyptian delegation travel to the annual Select USA Investment Summit in Washington, DC to look for opportunities for Egyptian companies to increase their investments in the U.S. While many in this room are focused on increasing U.S. investment here in Egypt, we don’t want to overlook the other important side of this two-way equation, nor the opportunities to network, meet the competition, or explore joint venture possibilities. I plan to accompany the next delegation to Washington for this year’s Summit, June 1st to 4th, so save the dates. I hope to see many of you there.

Our toolkit also includes the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund. This U.S. government-funded private entity aims to stimulate growth in the Egyptian private sector by providing small- and medium-sized enterprises access to investment capital and loans, modern technologies, and best business practices. The $300 million fund targets investments that will contribute to long-term sustainable economic development, and has so far made around $185 million in investments in a number of promising Egyptian companies.

Through our Foreign Commercial Service, we can also help with trade development, business counseling, and commercial advocacy. We have a number of large, promising projects and procurements for which we’re currently advocating, and we hope to have some exciting announcements in the near future. Overall, we’re upping our game on commercial advocacy, including through USTDA, the DFC, and the EXIM Bank.

Every day, our Commercial, Economic, and Agricultural teams are advocating with the Government of Egypt to remove or reduce specific barriers and improve the overall business environment.

I want to circle back to where we started. We are truly in this together. I am personally committed to nourishing and strengthening the Embassy-AmCham partnership, and Embassy support for U.S. business in Egypt – though in a sense that is the same thing. After two and a half years without a U.S. Ambassador in Egypt, I’m here and I want to make sure we don’t miss any opportunities that my presence can leverage.

I would love to get out and see your offices, plants, and projects. America means business here in Egypt. Again, thank you Sherif, Sylvia and your team, the AmCham Board, and all of you for the warm welcome today. We’ve got a lot of great, important work to do together. I look forward to helping you succeed and thank you for your support and friendship.]]>
1/28/2020 4:50:40 PM
<![CDATA[Palestine urges Arab League to hold meeting on 'Deal of Century']]>
According to an Arab diplomatic source, the extraordinary meeting will be held on Saturday, Feb. 2 in the presence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

It is worth mentioning that the Palestinian President called the Palestinian leaders on Tuesday to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the Deal of the Century.

Recently, during the Palestinian council meeting, Prime Minister Mohamed Ashtee called on the international community not to be part of this deal, as it contravenes the international law and violates the Palestinian people’s rights, according to Palestinian News Agency (WFA).

Ashtee added that the deal just serves the Israeli occupation without solving the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

US President Trump said earlier on Tuesday that he will announce the Deal of the Century in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
]]>
1/28/2020 2:41:39 PM
<![CDATA[LNA lies 100 km from Misrata’s center: Spox]]>
The LNA affirmed taking over Al Qaddahiyah, Al Hisha, and Abou Grin villages eastern Misrata confiscating military vehicles and capturing some members of militias.

Sky News Arabia reported that in parallel mercenary militants brought by Turkey from Syria to Libya to join the militias of the Government of National Accord (GNA) are fleeing to Europe. The number of militants who left for Italy is 47, according to LNA. Seventeen of those left from Tripoli Port as the cost of smuggling an individual rose from $700 to $1,300 over this week.

The network reported that the LNA arrested a man that turned out to be an IS militant who escaped a Syrian-Democratic-Forces prison amid a strike by Turkey in October. The LNA also arrested five others who were about to leave for Italy from Al Zawya coastal city. Four of those knew each other in Syria and met the fifth on a plane from Istanbul to Libya. Sky News Arabia added that at least 147 mercenaries made down payments to migrate to Europe soon.

As reported by AP, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSML) released a statement on Saturday saying that several countries who participated in the Berlin conference have broken the arms embargo.

“Over the last ten days, numerous cargo and other flights have been observed landing at Libyan airports in the western and eastern parts of the country providing the parties with advanced weapons, armored vehicles, advisers and fighters,” the UN statement read according to AP.

Spokesperson of LNA told Sky News Arabia on Sunday that Turkey is bringing Nusra Front militants from Syria to Libya at a rapid pace, and that combating terrorism and criminal militias is not a violation of the truce declared on January 12.

The recommendation of the Berlin conference held on January 19 is that no foreign country shall interfere in the Libyan issue.

The conference was attended by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar and UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Algerian President Abdul Majeed Tebboune, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Chairperson of African Union Commission (AUC) and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit.

Mesmary announced on January 18 that Libyan tribes and people had shut down oil fields and ports as the revenues have been used by GNA to pay for foreign fighters.

It is worthy to mention that the GNA is a non-elected UN-recognized interim government that is based in Tripoli and protected by militias. On the other hand, the elected Libyan House of Representatives convenes in Tobruk while the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces known as Libyan National Army (LNA) is located in Benghazi.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC), headquartered in Tripoli, declared that the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces and the Petroleum Facilities Guard ordered the administrations of Sirte Oil Company, Harougue Oil Operations, Waha Oil Company, Zueitina Oil Company, and Arabian Gulf Oil Company to stop exports from the ports of Sider, Zueitina, Harigua, Brega, and Ras Lanuf.

The negotiations held in Moscow on January 14 by Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar and Prime Minister of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj ended without reaching a truce agreement.

The LNA had announced earlier on the same day that it would not withdraw from the territories it conquered in Tripoli’s outskirts, and that it is determined to free the entire Libyan soil from militias and terror groups.

A ceasefire between both parties started on January 12; however, the LNA and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh announced on the same day that militias affiliated to Tripoli-based GNA had violated the ceasefire. Nevertheless, the LNA affirmed its commitment to the ceasefire.

The following day, the Libyan foreign ministry issued a statement requesting the international community to fulfill its duties by pressuring GNA-affiliated militias to surrender and give up their weapons obeying the Libyan people’s will.

Anadolu Agency reported that the LNA is amassing southern Tripoli while Al Arabiya announced that clashes resumed in Salahuddin district south of Tripoli.

On January 6, LNA captured Sirte and was advancing towards Misrata after entering Tripoli’s outskirts.

On January 8, Turkey declared sending 35 soldiers to Libya claiming they would not take part in combat. Nevertheless, Libya Review publication reported on January 11 that three Turkish soldiers were killed in Libya, and six others were injured. The bodies were brought to Misrata airport while the injured have received treatment at Nalut hospital near Tripoli.

Later in December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 300 militants affiliated to Turkey have been relocated to the Libyan capital from Syria and that 900-1,000 militants moved to Turkish camps to receive training.

Earlier in the same month, Turkey and GNA signed two MoUs pertinent to military cooperation and maritime border demarcation.
]]>
1/27/2020 2:56:20 PM
<![CDATA[Lebanese protesters throw rocks at police near parliament]]>
Some protesters have rejected a new cabinet formed last week and accuse the political elite of ignoring demands that include an independent government and fighting corruption.

MPs are expected to vote on a budget that was first drafted by the Saad al-Hariri-led government that quit in October, prompted by the protests.

Parliament’s finance and budget committee has introduced changes since then. Its chairman, Ibrahim Kanaan, told Reuters on Friday the latest projection was for a budget with a deficit of 7% instead of the originally hoped-for 0.6%, reflecting the crisis.]]>
1/27/2020 1:12:52 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian NGO sheds light on illegal migration, Turkey’s abuses]]>
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialog, a non-governmental organization, will introduce its report, dubbed “Illegal Immigration.. A Nightmare Threatening Humanity,” through which it will highlight the danger of such phenomenon on human rights as well as the security and stability of the Middle Eastern countries.

The report will also shed light on the Turkey’s regime’s exploitation of the immigration case to blackmail the European Union countries, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in October last year threatened to send 3.6 million refugees to Europe in case the European countries designate the latest Turkish military interference in Syria an “occupation.”

It will also report Turkey’s reported failure to protect its shores and being an alleged cause for the exacerbation of the security situation in Syria and Libya through backing terrorist militias involved in the smuggling and human trafficking operations.

As Turkey is set to hand its Universal Periodic Review to the United Nations Human Rights Council by the end of this month, an Egyptian human rights groups called on international community to hold the Turkish regime accountable for “terrorist acts”.

In a letter to the OHCHR, the rights group, known as “Hoqeqeiat” presented a monitoring report that documented the Turkish regime's “practice of state terrorism” and the extension of human rights violations from inside Turkey to abroad, especially to the neighboring countries.

The report said that the crimes included military intervention in northern Syria and the resulting human rights violations, as well as the regime’s support of terrorist militias in Libya.

The letter stressed the availability of many testimonies and documents that confirm Turkey's transfer of terrorist elements from Syria to Libya, and Erdogan’s use of a threatening tone against the neighboring countries in which he referred to symbols of the defunct Ottoman caliphate.]]>
1/26/2020 3:48:03 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi encourages boosting industry: Parl't committee chairman]]>
He made the remarks on Sunday during a committee meeting to review an interpellation filed by MP Mohamed Abdel Aziz el Ghoul on the problem of pressed wood imports.

Amer said Sisi is following up industrial projects in Upper Egypt, urging the government to swiftly settle problems of financially-strapped factories, especially those located there.

He also called on the government to solve the problem of the Nagaa Hammadi factory which is the largest factory in the Middle East in producing fiberboard - a type of engineered wood product.]]>
1/26/2020 11:53:16 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt FM heads for Washington for Ethiopia Dam talks]]>
The meeting, sponsored by the US and the World Bank, will take place on Tuesday to agree on rules regulating the filling and operation of Ethiopia Dam.

The meeting was supposed to be concluded mid this month but the three sides failed to reach an agreement and decided to defer it to Tuesday.

The three countries remained deadlocked over way the dam will be filled with water during droughts.]]>
1/26/2020 11:52:20 AM
<![CDATA[Pro-Sisi hashtag trends on 9th anniversary of January 25 Revolution]]>

Egyptians on social media platforms such as Twitter have created a hashtage #معاك_ياسيسي, which means “With you Sisi,” affirming their support to him and his anti-terrorism policy against the banned group of the Muslim Brotherhood.


Hesham posted that he sands by Sisi and Egypt in order to preserve the country’s stability and safety against the saboteurs.





href="https://twitter.com/heshamora3/status/1221040872743165955?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 25, 2020



Meanwhile, others posted a photo for Sisi in a miltary suit, while he was standing among a group of the Egyptian Army.





The Egyptian also denounced the baised editorial policy of Qatar-owned Al Jazeera channel; an account called Ahlawy posted a cartoon mocking the channel, saying “The channel that undermines the nations.”





Saudi Arabia users also mocked the channel in a funny way.




President Sisi is set to meet with the British prime minister to discuss bilateral economic and political cooperation on the sidelines of the summit. The president will also meet Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
]]>
1/20/2020 1:02:47 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt is one of main markets attracting investment in Africa: Trade Commissioner ]]>
Wade-Smith told Extra News TV channel that the African continent has made great progress during Egypt's presidency of the African Union in several fields, particularly trade and investment.

WhatsApp Image 2020-01-20 at 3.07.05 AM
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi receives in London ahead of the three-day UK-Africa investment summit - Press Photo

Trade Commissioner added that her country believes in the importance of foreign direct investment to African governments in order to create job opportunities and support infrastructure in the continent, referring to her country's desire to increase the flow of investments from the Kingdom to Africa to support the economic priorities of the countries of the continent.

“Many British officials have made several visits to African countries to discuss investment-related issues,” she noted, adding that the UK is keen to provide support to African countries to achieve development.

The three-day UK-Africa investment summit is currently being held in Britain from Monday till Wednesday. On the sidelines of the summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as well as a number of African leaders, the British government said.

Britain has invited 21 African countries to attend the summit, the British Embassy in Cairo said, adding that Sisi, along with Johnson, will open the summit, as Egypt, the current chair of the African Union, would be a key participant.


]]>
1/20/2020 12:11:27 PM
<![CDATA[Berlin Conference: Participating States pledge not to interfere in Libyan affairs ]]>
The countries taking part in the conference include Egypt, the United States, Russia, China, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, European Union, the UAE, Algeria, Congo, Arab League and African Union. The Tunisian president declined the invitation to attend the conference because it was late.

In a conclusion statement, they said that the ongoing situation in Libya threatens the international stability and security, calling upon the conflicting parties in Libya to make a truce.

They also called on the United Nation Security Council to impose sanctions against any Libyan party violates the ceasefire, the leaked statement said.

Berlin conference on Libya Kicked off Sunday with the aim of concluding a truce between warring parties and paving the way for reconstruction under an elected civilian government.

he conference is attended by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Algerian President Abdul Majeed Tebboune, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit.
]]>
1/19/2020 7:45:18 PM
<![CDATA[Arab League chief urges stopping foreign intervention in Libya]]>
In his speech at the Berlin summit on Libya, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, urged the importance of reaching a fundamental solution to the issue of the spread of armed militias, in order for a ceasefire to succeed.

The continued presence of such groups represents a threat to the ceasefire and to the political process, Aboul Gheit said.

He also voiced the Arab League's rejection of sending terrorist elements and using foreign mercenaries in Libya, which only fuels the conflict and complicates the security situation.

Berlin conference on Libya Kicked off Sunday with the aim of concluding a truce between warring parties and paving the way for reconstruction under an elected civilian government.

The conference is attended by Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Algerian President Abdul Majeed Tebboune, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit.]]>
1/19/2020 7:01:46 PM
<![CDATA[Haftar, world leaders discusses ways of permanent cease-fire in Libya]]>
He met with French President Emanuel Macron to discuss the situation in Libya; later, he met with German Challancer Angela Merkel, seeking the ways of reaching a permanent ceasefire between the LNA and militias of head of the Government of National Accord.

WhatsApp Image 2020-01-19 at 4.37.30 PM (1)



WhatsApp Image 2020-01-19 at 4.37.31 PM



Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the French President also discussed the need for reaching a cease-fire agreement.




The UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed held a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the Libyan turmoil, affirming that reaching a permanent cease-fire and finding solutions through political process are imperative.

WhatsApp Image 2020-01-19 at 4.37.41 PM

On the sidelines of Berlin Conference on Libya on Sunday, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed files of Libyan crisis, affirming that Libyan crisis should be tackled by a comprehensive solution politically, securely, and economically, with drafting a mechanism to carry out the items of this solution, said Egyptian Presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.

Pompeo expressed his country’s aspiration to cooperate with Egypt on the Libyan turmoil as Egypt has a long experience in dealing with Libyan affairs, Radi added.

President Sisi affirmed the Libyan crisis should be solved from political, security, and economic aspects, through drafting a mechanism to carry out this solution, said Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.

Berlin conference on Libya Kicked off Sunday with the aim of concluding a truce between warring parties and paving the way for reconstruction under an elected civilian government.

The conference is attended by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Algerian President Abdul Majeed Tebboune, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit.


Additional reporting by Noha El Tawil]]>
1/19/2020 6:40:29 PM
<![CDATA[Meet the man 'helping' Erdogan recruit fighters into Libya]]>
Al-Mahdy al-Haraty is a name that has emerged lately in Libya, after Turkey sent hundreds of Syrian fighters to the North African country to join the ranks of the Faiez al-Sarraj's government in Tripoli.

It is believed that Haraty, an Irish-Libyan, played a major role in this transfer of militants, especially that he has strong ties with the extremist Syrian factions, as well as Erdoğan.
According to al-Arabiya news website, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Haraty is the "engineer" of that transfer and played the biggest role in recruiting and receiving them in Tripoli.

Towards the end of 2019, a battalion that belongs to the Libyan National Army revealed that Haraty recruited the Syrian terrorists who fought under his command in a militia known as "Liwa al-Ummah" to assist Sarraj's government. The said battalion found a Liwa al-Ummah identity card of Haraty with the name Yassine Abu Ubaida in a Libyan site they had freed.

2
Mahdy al-Haraty's Liwa al-Ummah's ID - FILE

Although he has not been seen for a few years, signs of his activities in Libya have been apparent at the front-lines in Libya. He acts like the "man behind the scenes" in the Turkish military plan in Libya, and the first reference in coordinating and securing the arrival of the foreign fighters and Turkish weapons in Libya.

He is now the leader of "Liwa Tarablus," or the Tripoli Brigade, and he has a long history of violence and terrorism as he previously fought in Kosovo and Iraq.
He lived in Ireland for 20 years and came to Libya when the protests began in 2011. He led the "Tripoli Revolutionaries" battalion at the time until late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi was murdered.

3
Haraty in Libya - FILE

In 2012, he moved to Syria and established "Liwa al-Ummah," which included Syrian and Libyan terrorists, and based his group in rural Idlib. He then returned to Libya and supervised the recruitment and training and of extremists to fight in the country as part of the Islamic State group, or to send them to Turkey and then Syria.

Haraty's relationship with Erdogan began in 2010, when he was aboard a humanitarian aid ship that was heading to Gaza, and Israel attacked the volunteers. He was sent to a Turkish hospital, where he met the president.

4
Haraty with Abdel Hakim Belhaj, known as "Qatar's man in Libya." - FILE

In 2011, signs of wealth began to appear on Haraty and his family. In July 2011, his house in Ireland was raided and his wife reported the robbery of jewelry worth 200,000 euros. The Irish authorities investigated the source of that money, given Haraty's modest income. He claimed he acquired that money for toppling Gaddafi.

]]>
1/19/2020 5:37:07 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Pompeo tackle Libyan crisis, GERD file]]>
President Sisi affirmed the Libyan crisis should be solved from political, security, and economic aspects, through drafting a mechanism to carry out this solution, said Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.

Pompeo expressed his country’s aspiration to cooperate with Egypt on the Libyan file as Egypt has a long experience in dealing with Libyan affairs, Radi added.

President Sisi affirmed Egypt's keenness on enhancing the partnership with the United States to protect the stability and security in the Middle East, Radi continued.

Regarding the Ethiopian Renaissance dam, President Sisi thanked Pompeo for Washington’s efforts in the dispute between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

President Sisi said that he is looking forward to the continuation of the US role to reach a comprehensive agreement that protects Egypt's rights in the Nile water.

Berlin conference on Libya Kicked off Sunday with the aim of concluding a truce between warring parties and paving the way for reconstruction under an elected civilian government.

The conference is attended by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Algerian President Abdul Majeed Tebboune, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit.

Additional reporting by Noha El Tawil


]]>
1/19/2020 5:24:53 PM
<![CDATA[All you need to know about Child Protection Bureau]]>
This comes within the framework of the role the Public Prosecution plays to protect society. This decision aims at eliminating all phenomena that threaten the security and safety of the Egyptian child, whether he/she is a victim, a perpetrator or a witness, and at eliminating the phenomenon of children's disappearance.

The decision of the attorney general clarified several main specializations of the Child Protection Bureau:

First: The office is concerned with supervising the child’s prosecutions, following up their actions, and monitoring the practical problems they face. The bureau reviews cases and judicial rulings related to children and takes the necessary measures to protect the child when exposed to violence, neglect or exploitation.

Second: It follows up on the cases of children’s disappearance, prepares a record of such cases, and entrusts the police with searching and investigating.

Third: It inspects observation houses, training and rehabilitation centers, social care institutions and homes, specialized hospitals, penal institutions and other places of detention for children.

Fourth: The Child Protection Bureau has the authority to coordinate and follow up with the Child Helpline and the national child protection authorities regarding taking the necessary measures to strengthen and support child protection.

Fifth: Prosecutors notify the Child Protection Bureau of all facts related to children that involve violence against them, their exploitation, endangering, losing or finding them.

Sixth: The bureau prepares a report on the size and type of the phenomenon of child criminality and studies it to develop the child justice system. It also prepares a quarterly report on its work for the attorney general.
]]>
1/19/2020 2:47:10 PM
<![CDATA[Berlin conference on Libya kicks off]]>
The conference is attended by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar and UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Algerian President Abdul Majeed Tebboune, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Chairperson of African Union Commission (AUC) and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit.

Germany had earlier declared that the countries taking part in the conference include the United States, Russia, China, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, and others. The Tunisian president declined the invitation to attend the conference because it was late. The Tusinisian Armed Forces stated on Saturday that drones were flying on the Libyan side of shared borders, and that the Air Force is ready to down them if they enter Tusnisian airspace.

TASS acquired Saturday draft conclusions focusing on six “baskets” that are the termination of all military movements in support of warring parties; establishment of unified security agencies, enforcement of UNSC sanctions against violators; creation of an International Follow-Up Committee (IFC); declaration of a truce and militias dismantling; and launching of a reconstruction program.

Spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed al-Mesmary announced on the same day that Libyan tribes and people had shut down oil fields and ports as the revenues have been used by GNA to pay for foreign fighters.

It is worthy to mention that the GNA is a non-elected UN-recognized interim government that is based in Tripoli and protected by militias. On the other hand, the elected Libyan House of Representatives convenes in Tobruk while the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces known as Libyan National Army (LNA) is located in Benghazi.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC), headquartered in Tripoli, declared that the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces and the Petroleum Facilities Guard ordered the administrations of Sirte Oil Company, Harougue Oil Operations, Waha Oil Company, Zueitina Oil Company, and Arabian Gulf Oil Company to stop exports from the ports of Sider, Zueitina, Harigua, Brega, and Ras Lanuf.

The negotiations held in Moscow on January 14 by Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar and Prime Minister of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj ended without reaching a truce agreement.

The LNA had announced earlier on the same day that it would not withdraw from the territories it conquered in Tripoli’s outskirts, and that it is determined to free the entire Libyan soil from militias and terror groups.

A ceasefire between both parties started on January 12; however, the LNA and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh announced on the same day that militias affiliated to Tripoli-based GNA had violated the ceasefire. Nevertheless, the LNA affirmed its commitment to the ceasefire.

The following day, the Libyan foreign ministry issued a statement requesting the international community to fulfill its duties by pressuring GNA-affiliated militias to surrender and give up their weapons obeying the Libyan people’s will.

Anadolu Agency reported that the LNA is amassing southern Tripoli while Al Arabiya announced that clashes resumed in Salahuddin district south of Tripoli.

On January 6, LNA captured Sirte and was advancing towards Misrata after entering Tripoli’s outskirts.

On January 8, Turkey declared sending 35 soldiers to Libya claiming they would not take part in combat. Nevertheless, Libya Review publication reported on January 11 that three Turkish soldiers were killed in Libya, and six others were injured. The bodies were brought to Misrata airport while the injured have received treatment at Nalut hospital near Tripoli.

Later in December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 300 militants affiliated to Turkey have been relocated to the Libyan capital from Syria and that 900-1,000 militants moved to Turkish camps to receive training.

Earlier in the same month, Turkey and GNA signed two MoUs pertinent to military cooperation and maritime border demarcation.
]]>
1/19/2020 1:59:43 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Italy discuss evolving Libyan situation in Berlin]]>
The talks were held on the sidelines of the Berlin summit on Libya, set to kicks off later in the day.



The ministers took up regional files of common concern, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez.

They also tackled ways of boosting efforts meant to reach a comprehensive settlement to the Libyan crisis and rendering the Berlin summit a success through removing all hindrances impeding the talks, the spokesman added. ]]>
1/19/2020 1:22:46 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey arrested hundreds of reporters over opinion: human rights official]]>
In an interview with Egypt Today, Mohamed Osman, head of the human rights unit in the State Information Service, said that he has observed that Turkish prisons are full of journalists and thinkers.

Osman urged Turkish authorities to address their internal problems and stop suppressing peaceful opposition figures, instead of Fracturing our heads with hollow lectures on human rights. He affirmed that the regime violates the rights of Turkish citizens and do not apply human rights principles on the ground.

Closing Turkish platform

On Wednesday, Egypt's Interior Ministry said it thwarted schemes for the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, as the ministry’s national security sector spotted an electronic platform “funded by Turkey.”



The ministry said the platform leaders rented an apartment to create “negative” press reports that contain “false and fabricated” information about the political, economic, security, and human rights situation in Egypt and send them to the headquarters of the “agency” in Turkey, to “distort the image of the Egyptian state on the internal and external levels.

The Turkish presidency described the Egyptian steps against the alleged headquarters of the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency as “hostile.”

In response, Egyptian Foreign Ministry voiced Egypt’s categorical rejection of the Turkish official comments on the Egyptian “legal procedures,” saying that the current Turkish regime takes the lead in abusing the freedom of opinion, expression and press, as well as other basic rights and freedoms, according to indicators.

The ministry also accused the Turkish regime of "supporting and financing extremist groups and terrorist militias in a number of countries in the region, with the aim of enabling them to control the fate of their peoples by force of arms and by using rogue methods of intimidation, in a desperate endeavor by the Ankara regime to achieve personal aspirations and personal goals, in order to restore a past that is based on the illusion of false glories.”

In a sharper tone, the statement said the Turkish comments would not change “the fact that the disgraced system” stained the name of Turkey, made it occupy an advanced position globally concerning imprisoning journalists, and caused it rank 157th out of 180 countries in terms of the 2019 Press Freedom Index.

Egypt Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned on Thursday the Turkish Chargé d'affaires to express their refusal to the latest Turkish comments.
]]>
1/19/2020 1:17:32 PM
<![CDATA[Amb. Noke: Japan's peace, prosperity based on that of Libya]]>
“Peace and stability in this part of the world in northern part of Africa is very important for the stability in the region and Japanese peace and prosperity is also based on peace and prosperity of this area,” said Noke in statements to Egypt Today magazine on Saturday.

He further said that Japan “would hope that all the stake holders and interested parties work in a constructive manner to establish peace and stability through dialogue.”

Noke went on explaining that there have been certain developments regarding Libya; however, it is still early to predict what will happen.

“There are some positive elements we would hope they further develop to arrive at a better situation in the region,” he added.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Saturday headed for Germany to participate in an international conference on Libya, which will kick off on Sunday.

The conference will be attended by representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council along with the states concerned with the Libyan crisis in addition to representatives for international and regional organizations.

Other leaders and top officials who will attend the summit include: Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Algerian President Abdul Majeed Tebboune, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit.

Libya's prime minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj, Commander of the Libya National Army Khalifa Haftar and UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame will also attend the international conference.
]]>
1/18/2020 9:14:15 PM
<![CDATA[Abe’s ME tour meant to reduce tensions in region: Ambassador Noke ]]>
In his statements to Egypt Today magazine Saturday, he said that Abe’s meeting with leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman this month have witnessed appreciations to Japanese efforts for reducing tensions in the region among regional powers.

“There was an agreement to continue to work closely for the peace and stability in the region,” Ambassador Noke added.

Based upon those discussions and relations, PM Abe visited three gulf countries to share the understandings and work together.

“Prime Minister Abe had another objective that is to explain to the leaders of three countries that Japanese intentions to send self-defense forces in the area from Guf of Aden to North of Arab Sea,” said Ambassador Noke.

Noke went on explaining that Japan’s dispatch of Maritime Self Defense Forces unit, composed of a destroyer and two P-3C patrol planes in the region, “is to strengthen information-gathering in order to ensure the safety of vessels related to Japan navigating in the area.”

Abe’s visit to Oman was an occasion, in addition, to express condolences on the demise of former Sultan Qaboos bin Said, he added.

Noke also commented on a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Tokyo last December amid rising tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program, and economic sanctions imposed by U.S.

Japanese Ambassador explained that Japan has traditional good relations with Iran and is an ally of the United States, adding that “Prime Minister Abe can speak with leaders of both countries, and we are working to decrease the tension, and try to solve the questions in a peaceful manner through dialogue.”

In a five-day tour from January 11 to 15, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman. The visit came following retaliatory strikes launched by Iran targeting military bases in Iraq that host U.S. forces, after Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. strike that targeted him near Baghdad Airport. ]]>
1/18/2020 7:48:55 PM
<![CDATA[Africa in world’s summits under Egypt’s chairmanship]]>
2019 Munich Security Conference

For the first time in its history, a non-European head of state attended the conference’s main session since President Sisi attended as AU chair.

45th G7 Summit

President Sisi held meetings with the G7 summit leaders in Biarritz during which he discussed key issues in Africa and the Middle East.

Russia-Africa Summit

A number of economic and investment agreements were signed paving the way for a strategic partnership between Russia and Africa. Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Sisi agreed to hold the summit every three years by rotation among Russia and African states.

Belt and Road Summit 2019

The initiative includes 37 Asian, African, and European states composing 65 percent of the world’s population and 40 percent of the world’s GDP. The initiative launched in 2013 will link more than 60 states together.

2019 G20 Osaka Summit

The president presented to the leaders of 37 countries attending the summit, along with senior international officials, the vision of Egypt concerning partnership between the two sides and the current challenges.

The president also stressed the joint responsibility in fighting against terrorism and countering extremist ideology. He highlighted Africa's right in a fair economic partnership, stressing that the African continent is qualified to receive investments, especially in the field of infrastructure.

Sisi held two collective summits on the sidelines of the G20 meetings, the first of which was a Chinese-African five-nation summit, which brought together Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Senegalese President Macky Sall, and Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres.

The second was a tripartite African summit that brought President Sisi together with the presidents of South Africa and Senegal.

G20-Initiative Compact with Africa (CwA)

“Development in Africa will have its impact on the Mediterrenean region and will achieve mutual interests,” President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said in his speech at the opening of the G20-Initiative Compact with Africa (CwA) held in Germany Tuesday.

“As protectionism is ascending and slowdown of global trade is arising, African states are likely to suffer the most, particularly in light of problems like debts, poverty, climate change, and diseases. Africa’s location, resources, continental free trade agreement, and rise of intra-continental trade still make it an attractive investment destination,” President Sisi stressed.

7th TICAD Summit

The 7th Tokyo International Conference on Africa's Development (TICAD) has resulted in a three-year joint cooperative plan between African and Japan, President Sisi said in the conclusion secession of TICAD Summit on Friday in the Japanese city of Yokohama.

The plan aims to achieve the aspirations of stability, peace, modernization and prosperity, besides addressing the challenges facing African people, President sisi added, saying “The 7th TICAD Summit is an important turning point in promoting cooperation between the African Union and Japan.”


President Sisi said that the summit shed light on African countries, whose youth make up about 65 percent of the whole African population.

President Sisi affirmed to partners that the continent has adopted a long way of economic and political reforms, calling on the international investors and partners to cooperate with African countries to transfer their knowledge to the Africans, modernize industrialization system, develop the infrastructure and technology, and to establish a digital economy.

“I would like re-invite all Japanese private sector companies and international companies and international financial institutions to cooperate and invest in Africa. The right time has come to open up to the continent.The African markets are open and the investment climate ready for cooperation with all partners,” said President Sisi, thanking Japanese people and government for the TICAD summit.
]]>
1/18/2020 7:22:32 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi to attend UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020]]>
The opening session will consist of speeches by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and African leaders. It will be followed by others on sustainable funding, infrastructure, trade and investment in light of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), renewable energy, and growth opportunities.

The summit will be attended by the UK prime minister, African heads of states, chiefs of international organizations, and businesspeople. On the sidelines, an exhibition will be held for British and African companies working in the sectors of robotics, artificial satellites, new and renewable energy, and sustainable construction materials.

Assistant Foreign Minister for European Affairs Badr Abdel Aati had talks Friday with a high-level British delegation, under the UK chief negotiator for the Middle East and North Africa, on reaching a new partnership deal between the two countries.

The meeting falls within the third round of negotiations between Egypt and UK to reach a new partnership agreement after the UK's exit from the European Union (EU).

The third round of negotiations brought together all ministries and parties concerned from Egypt and Britain.

The two sides' talks focused on all files related to the new draft agreement to ensure that the Egyptian goods and products continue to enter the British market.
]]>
1/18/2020 5:34:01 PM
<![CDATA[Militias disbanding in Libya within Berlin conference proposal ]]>
Participants in the conference call for the termination of all military movements in support of warring parties and “the establishment of unified Libyan national security, police and military forces under central, civilian authority, building upon the Cairo talks, and the documents produced there-in.”

The draft conclusions advocate the enforcement of UNSC sanctions against those who breach Resolution 1970 (2011) and the Council’s subsequent Resolutions, including the proliferation of arms from Libya.

"We herewith create an International Follow-Up Committee (IFC) in order to maintain coordination in the aftermath of the Berlin summit, under the aegis of the United Nations," the document says according to TASS.

The draft proposes that all parties concerned agree on a truce coupled with militias dismantling urging "the redeployment of heavy weapons, artillery and aerial vehicles and their cantonment."

"We call upon the United Nations to facilitate ceasefire negotiations between the parties, including through the immediate establishment of technical committees to monitor and verify the implementation of the ceasefire," the document adds as reported by TASS.

The document also stresses the necessity of launching a reconstruction program “under the auspices of a new representative and unified government of national accord exercising its authority over all Libyan territory, to develop the severely affected areas.”

Spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed al-Mesmary announced on Saturday that the move of oil ports and fields shutdown was made by Libyan people and that it is the Armed Forces’ duty to protect citizens.

On Friday, protesters entered Zueitina oil port northeastern Libya and closed it as tribes’ leaders in the east and south of the country announced a day earlier that the operation of all oil terminals in areas controlled by LNA will be stopped. The tribes leaders’ reason for the action is that the Government of National Accord (GNA) protected by militias uses oil revenues to pay for foreign fighters.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced on Saturday that the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces and the Petroleum Facilities Guard ordered the administrations of Sirte Oil Company, Harougue Oil Operations, Waha Oil Company, Zueitina Oil Company, and Arabian Gulf Oil Company to stop exports from the ports of Sider, Zueitina, Harigua, Brega, and Ras Lanuf.

Germany announced that the countries taking part in the conference hosted in Berlin on Libya Sunday include the United States, Russia, China, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, and others. Germany declared that Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar will attend while Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj confirmed his participation.

The negotiations held Monday in Moscow by Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar and Prime Minister of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj ended without reaching a truce agreement, Extra News reported citing Russian media.

The LNA had announced earlier on Monday that it would not withdraw from the territories it conquered in Tripoli’s outskirts, and that it is determined to free the entire Libyan soil from militias and terror groups.

]]>
1/18/2020 5:03:04 PM
<![CDATA[LNA confirms closure of oil facilities to cut militias funding]]>
On Friday, protesters entered Zueitina oil port northeastern Libya and closed it as tribes’ leaders in the east and south of the country announced a day earlier that the operation of all oil terminals in areas controlled by LNA will be stopped. The tribes leaders’ reason for the action is that the Government of National Accord (GNA) protected by militias uses oil revenues to pay for foreign fighters.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced on Saturday that the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces and the Petroleum Facilities Guard ordered the administrations of Sirte Oil Company, Harougue Oil Operations, Waha Oil Company, Zueitina Oil Company, and Arabian Gulf Oil Company to stop exports from the ports of Sider, Zueitina, Harigua, Brega, and Ras Lanuf.

LNA insists on militias dismantling, clashes resume

CAIRO - 14 January 2020: The Libyan foreign ministry issued a statement on Tuesday requesting the international community to fulfill its duties by pressuring GNA-affiliated militias to surrender and give up their weapons obeying the Libyan people's will. Anadolu Agency reported that the LNA is amassing southern Tripoli while Al Arabiya announced that clashes resumed in Salahuddin district south of Tripoli.




The NOC headquartered in Tripoli warned Friday on its Facebook page against the repercussions of oil ports shutdown “prior to Berlin conference on Sunday.”

“The oil and gas sector is the source of life for the Libyan economy and the only source of income for the Libyan people. Oil facilities belong to the Libyan people so they must not be a political bargaining card,” NOC Chairman Mostafa Sonaa Allah.

The chairman added that the closure may cause a fall in exchange rate, huge budget deficit, and the exit of foreign companies working in the sector. The other consequences cited by the NOC chairman is that fields closure will incur an instant loss in production while the closure of ports will mandate the reduction of production and even cutting it when the storage full capacity is reached, which can happen in less than five days.

Sonaa Allah stated, “the National Oil Corporation calls upon institutions that pretend protecting oil facilities to fend off any closure attempt. If they fail, the corporation will have no choice but finding out other solutions to secure the vital institutions of the Libyan people.”

Germany announced that the countries taking part in the conference hosted in Berlin on Libya Sunday include the United States, Russia, China, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, and others. Germany declared that Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar will attend while Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj confirmed his participation.

Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh requested the Arab Parliament on Wednesday to withdraw its recognition of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) presidential council due to its violation of the constitutional declaration and the political agreement of Sukheirat.

Addressing the Arab Parliament session, Saleh called on the Arab Parliament to support efforts of the Libyan people to counter terrorism and stand against the Turkish invasion of his country.
]]>
1/18/2020 2:33:44 PM
<![CDATA[Lawsuit demands Turkey to repay Egypt 23M gold coins]]>
Egyptian lawyer Hamido Gamil filed a lawsuit before the court, asking the Egyptian government to take all international legal procedures to reclaim this money, which was paying to the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1955 illegally as the Ottomani guardianship over on Egypt ended officially after Britain declared its protectorate over Egypt in 1914.

The lawsuit also called for confiscating all Turkish-owned properties in Egypt, besides freezing Turkish assets in Egyptian banks, saying that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has previously asked for reclaiming the gold coins.

Last July, another lawyer filed a lawsuit before the Administrative Court asking for cancellation Egyptian-Turkish trade deals and banning the entry of Turkish goods into the Egyptian markets.

In June 2017, Business tycoon Naguib Sawiris called for preventing the entry of Turkish products into Arab markets, due to Turkey’s support to Qatar when Egypt and other Gulf states cut their relations with Doha.

Despite the strained relations between both countries, Egypt’s exports to Turkey rose 9.7 percent during 2018, recording $2.2 billion, compared to $1.9 billion in 2017, according to a recent report issued in May 2019 by the General Organization for Export and Import Control.

Since the ouster of former President Morsi in July 2013, the relations between both sides have become strained. On Nov. 23, 2013, Egypt downgraded bilateral diplomatic relations with Turkey when it declared Turkish Ambassador Hussein Botsali a persona non grata.

The diplomatic disagreement has been deepened recently; on the 6th of January 2020, Egypt Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Turkish Chargé d'affaires to express their refusal to the latest Turkish comments when Egypt interrogating the staff of Turkish-funded news agency of Anadulo. The Egyptian Interior Ministry said on Wednesday it thwarted schemes for the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, as the ministry’s national security sector spoted an electronic platform “funded by Turkey,” with the aim of “destroying the pillars” of the Egyptian state.

Turkey’s foreign policy in the Middle East widened its rift with Egypt when Turkish President Recept Tayeb Erdogan urkish President Recept Tayeb Erdogan and Sarraj signed controversial Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on drawing maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea- one of the largest natural gas resources in the region- and on enhancing military cooperation. The deals provoked anger in Egypt, Cyprus and Greece that voiced their rejection of the deal as it contradicts with the international agreements.

In a joint press conference held in Cairo for the foreign ministers of Egypt, Greece, France and Cyprus, it has been affirmed that the necessity to fully respect the sovereignty of all countries, including their sovereign rights in their water regions in the Mediterranean Sea. In this regard, they strongly condemned the continuous Turkish acts (drillings) in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and regional waters and called on Turkey to immediately halt illegal exploration activities.sovereignty of all countries, including their sovereign rights in their water regions in the Mediterranean Sea. In this regard, they strongly condemned the continuous Turkish acts (drillings) in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and regional waters and called on Turkey to immediately halt illegal exploration activities.

]]>
1/18/2020 1:42:22 PM
<![CDATA[Iraq, Washington review security relations, future of US forces in country: army spox]]>
“The Iraqi government is conducting dialogues with the United States regarding security relations, and Iraq has observations and proposed related to this matter, and [Iraqi government] will work to avoid any conflict with its sovereignty,” said Khalaf, adding that “negotiations have not ended yet.”

Earlier last week, it was reported that negotiations between both sides to begin and continue for months or a year. One of the announced proposals were that NATO to remain in Iraq, while the U.S. forces remain as part of the alliance.

The Iraqi parliament, earlier this month, adopted a resolution obliging the government to end the presence of any foreign forces on Iraqi soil, and prevent it from using its lands, airspace and water for any reason.

Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi later announced that he had asked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send delegates to Iraq to put in place the mechanisms for implementing the decisions of the Iraqi parliament for a safe withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

The prime minister added that American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities, which is a violation of the bilateral agreements.

Washington responded by rejecting the withdrawal, and said that any delegation to be sent to Iraq will discuss “how to best recommit strategic partnership - not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East,” AP quoted Pompeo’s spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.
]]>
1/18/2020 1:34:21 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Canada mull latest ME developments]]>
The two sides mulled the latest developments in the Middle East, including the crises in Iraq, Iran and Libya.

They also addressed the current Egyptian presidency of the African Union and ways to enhance Canadian engagement in support of peace and development in the African continent.

Abu Zeid also offered condolences to the Canadian official on behalf of the Egyptian government and people for the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash. ]]>
1/18/2020 12:04:18 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt: Sending Turkish troops to Libya violates US resolutions]]>
In phone calls with his Greek and Italian counterparts, Shoukry said that the Tukrish announcement has negative and grave consequences on the Berlin Conference and on the situation in Libya due on January 19, 2020, said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in a statement on Thursday evening.

“This is considered per se evidence of the intention to violate the relevant Security Council resolutions, and portends further internationalization of the Libyan crisis,” the statement read.

Shoukry expressed his great concern that such an announcement “would lead to wasting the efforts exerted by the international community and the countries keen on Libya's interests and stability.”

“The Foreign Ministers agreed on the importance of supporting the Berlin political process and striving to make it a success instead of venturing once more, by putting international endeavors regarding the Libyan issue at stake,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, the UAE and other Arab and Foreign countries, paid a visit to Greece to discuss the latest developments in Liba following the Turkish announcement.

He met with Greece Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who affirmed that Haftar will attend the Berlin Conference, Reuters reported.




Haftar announced on December 12th, 2019 a “decisive” and “final battle” in Tripoli to “set it free” from armed militias of the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by Turkey. On January 6, 2020, the Libyan National Army forces seized the city of Sirte after attacking from five military axes to control several vital areas in the city such as Sirte port and Ghardabiya Airbase.

Later, the international community intervened and managed to bring a ceasefire between the two conflicted parties. This month, Moscow hosted a meeting between the conflicting parties in presence of representatives from Egypt and other countries to reach an agreement. However, the meeting failed to reach an agreement and Haftar refused to sign it due to some “conditions that must be met.”

In response, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to send Turkish troops to fight along with forces of the GNA, Haftar’s rival.

The situation in Libya has escalated in the region after Turkish President Recept Tayeb Erdogan and Sarraj signed controversial Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on drawing maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea- one of the largest natural gas resources in the region- and on enhancing military cooperation. The deals provoked anger in Egypt, Cyprus and Greece that voiced their rejection of the deal as it contradicts with the international agreements.

In a joint press conference held in Cairo for the foreign ministers of Egypt, Greece, France and Cyprus, it has been affirmed that the necessity to fully respect the sovereignty of all countries, including their sovereign rights in their water regions in the Mediterranean Sea. In this regard, they strongly condemned the continuous Turkish acts (drillings) in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and regional waters and called on Turkey to immediately halt illegal exploration activities.sovereignty of all countries, including their sovereign rights in their water regions in the Mediterranean Sea. In this regard, they strongly condemned the continuous Turkish acts (drillings) in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and regional waters and called on Turkey to immediately halt illegal exploration activities.
]]>
1/17/2020 4:49:48 PM
<![CDATA[UK designates entire Hezbollah 'terrorist group,' freezes its assets]]>
As per the HM Treasury

statement

, the entire group comes under this act and freezing assets of the entire organization came into force on Thursday, January 16 2020.



The military wing of Hezbollah was previously subjected to financial sanctions imposed by Council Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001.
]]>
1/17/2020 4:47:55 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi affirms support to Sudan’s stability as he speaks with Burhan]]>
Recent developments in Sudan included a mutiny by former members of the Sudanese General Intelligence Service, over payment of their severance. After heavy fire was heard in Khartoum, five people were reportedly killed, including two soldiers.

In a phone call with head of Sudan's sovereign council Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Thursday, President Sisi highlighted the historical ties that bring together the peoples of Egypt and Sudan.

For his part, Burhan praised the popular and governmental rapprochement between Egypt and Sudan, and the existing efforts to improve the bonds of joint cooperation between the two countries. He also praised the unlimited Egyptian support for preserving the safety and stability of the African sisterly country.

The meeting also discussed developments of a number of regional issues of common interest, especially talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the Libyan crisis. The two leaders agreed on the need to continue intensive consultation and joint coordination in this regard.

GERD talks

After nine years of disagreements and discussions between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the three Nile countries finally achieved a breakthrough and agreed on an agreement concerning the technical and scientific problems on the dam construction.

Foreign Ministers and Water Ministers of the three countries held a series of three-day meetings at the US Department of Treasury in Washington on January 13-15 after they had reached a deadlock at the end of the US, WB-brokered discussions held in the period between November 15, 2019, and January 9, 2020.

At the end of the meetings which were attended by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and President of the World Bank David Malpass in Washington D.C. on Wednesday evening, the three countries reached an agreement on all different points regarding the filling and operation of the $4-billion dam, which locates on the Blue Nile.


Additional reporting by Samar Samir
]]>
1/17/2020 4:00:20 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt: Washington meeting on Renaissance dam has great importance]]>
During their three-day discussions at the US Department of Treasury in Washington D.C. on January 13-15, the three countries reached consensus on the definition of drought and prolonged droughts of the Nile water as it was one of main points of contention between them, according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resource and Irrigation on Friday.

It added that Ethiopia will abide by applying certain mitigation measures to alleviate the possible impacts of the process of reservoir's filling during the period of droughts, noting that the three countries, with representatives from the US Department of Treasury and the World Bank, will continue consultations in these matters over the coming two weeks.

The main points that will be tackled in the coming period are legal and technical, the statement said, adding that they will discuss the mechanism for settling disputes that may arise from resetting the policy of dam operation due to changes in the amounts of Nile floods from one year to another or from one period to another.

After nine years of disagreements and discussions between three countries, they finally achieved a breakthrough and agreed on an agreement concerning the technical and scientific problems at the Washington meeting, which was attended by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and President of the World Bank David Malpass.

In case you missed it…

Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia reach initial agreement on Renaissance dam after 9 years of disagreement

CAIRO - 16 January 2020: After nine years of disagreements and discussions between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the three Nile countries finally achieved a breakthrough and agreed on an agreement concerning the technical and scientific problems on the dam construction.





The disagreement between the three states dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Cairo has voiced its concerns that building the dam could harm its 55.5 billion cubic meters share as 80 percent of Egypt’s share comes from the Blue Nile and Ethiopian Heights, while Ethiopia says it is necessary for its development and electricity production. However, the three countries reached an initial deal, announcing the “Declaration of Principle,” per which the dam should cause any harm to the Nile downstream countries.]]>
1/17/2020 3:48:03 PM
<![CDATA[Khamenei claims Iran has divine support, calls plane tragedy 'bitter']]>
Khamenei claimed, during the sermon, that iran has the divine’s support.

During a spike in tension, Iran launched missiles at U.S. targets on Jan. 8 in response to a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 3 that killed Qassem Soleimeni, Iran's most powerful military commander.

"The fact that Iran has the power to give such a slap to a world power shows the hand of God," Khamenei said, after referring to the launch of missiles against U.S. targets as a "day of God". His comments were met by chants of "Death to America!".

Tehran has been sponsoring and funding the existence of armed militias and paramilitary troops in a number of Arab countries, including Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, with utmost loyalty to Iran and its interests in the region and the Arab gulf.

Khamenei also called “bitter” plane tragedy should not overshadow Soleimani's 'sacrifice'.

"We request all sides not to make human issues, particularly this tragic accident, into an excuse for political gestures," Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Five countries whose citizens died when Iran shot down the airliner last week said on Thursday that Tehran should pay compensation to families of the victims, and that the world was watching for its response.

Mousavi said Iran had cooperated "beyond expectations" with countries whose citizens were killed in the crash, according to ISNA.

Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain also said after a meeting of officials in London that Iran should hold a "thorough, independent and transparent international investigation open to grieving nations".

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards admitted accidentally shooting down the Ukrainian airliner with a missile, killing all 176 aboard.
]]>
1/17/2020 11:20:28 AM
<![CDATA[Ukraine PM offers resignation after leaked recording]]>
"To remove any doubts about our respect for and trust in the president, I have written a resignation letter and handed it over to the president," Oleksiy Goncharuk wrote on his official Facebook page.

He said the audio "artificially created an impression that my team and I do not respect the president".

"This is not true," he said. "I came to this post to carry out the president's program."

Zelensky's office said it had received the letter of resignation and would consider it.

The alleged recordings, which emerged this week, came from an informal December meeting between ministers and senior officials from the National Bank.

According to local media reports, the participants discussed how to explain recent economic developments to Zelensky, a 41-year-old comedian and political neophyte who won a surprise election victory last year.

Goncharuk, 35, is reportedly heard saying that explanations need to be simple because Zelensky has a "primitive understanding" of the economy.

He also called himself an economic "ignoramus".

After the recordings emerged on Wednesday, media reported that Goncharuk resigned but his office denied this.]]>
1/17/2020 10:57:03 AM
<![CDATA[SIS: Anadolu agency has no legal presence in Egypt]]>
On Wednesday, Egypt's Interior Ministry said it thwarted schemes for the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, as the ministry’s national security sector spotted an electronic platform “funded by Turkey,”.

Egypt's Interior Ministry spots 'Turkish-funded' platform publishing fake news

CAIRO - 15 January 2020: The Egyptian Interior Ministry on Wednesday said it could thwart schemes of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, as the ministry's national security sector could spot an electronic platform "funded by Turkey," with the aim of "destroying the pillars" of the Egyptian state.




The ministry said the platform leaders rented an apartment to create “negative” press reports that contain “false and fabricated” information about the political, economic, security, and human rights situation in Egypt and send them to the headquarters of the “agency” in Turkey, to “distort the image of the Egyptian state on the internal and external levels.

On Thursday, Prosecutor General Hamada El-Sawy decided to release the five defendants, including three Egyptians who were fined LE 10,000 and two other Turkish nationals were handed to the embassy to be deported shortly to Ankara.

And here is transcript for SIS full statement:

The State Information Service followed statements released by the Turkish government regarding legal measures taken by Egyptian authorities against an illegal media entity in Egypt.

In light of the fallacies and lies in the statements of the Turkish Presidency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The State Information Service (SIS), as the authority responsible for
accrediting foreign media offices and correspondents in Egypt clarifies the following:

1. First: According to internationally accepted rules, the accreditation systems for foreign correspondents are regulated by the domestic legislation of each country, and this is indicated in the third paragraph of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

a. In accordance with these rules, the State Information Service is the body responsible for accrediting and regulating the work of foreign correspondents in Egypt, as indicated by the presidential Decree No. 1820 of 1967 which established the State Information Service.

b. In Accordance with these rules, there are now over 300 accredited foreign media offices in Egypt and around 1500 accredited, resident journalists and correspondents, in addition to an average of about 100 visiting journalists per month on average.

c. Through out the past six years, none of these foreign correspondents was prevented from performing his or her professional duties, and this encouraged their numbers to rise from 920 accredited and resident correspondents in 2014 to over 1500 as of now, with an increasing rate of 63%.

d. SIS did not exercise its right to shut down any foreign media offices in Egypt or to deport any foreign journalist from the country, except for one case which involved a British journalist who did not possess a valid permit, and the competent authorities took the necessary legal measures against her in 2018. SIS refrains from resorting to this aforementioned right despite the various professional transgressions committed by accredited correspondents out of its respect to freedom of the press and the media.

2.Regarding the legal status of Anadolu News Agency:

a.Official Turkish statements included allegations that the individuals who were arrested and the office in which they were conducting their activities belonged to the official Turkish Anadolu News Agency, and in response to this allegation SIS stresses the following:

i.Anadolu had one accredited correspondent in Cairo in the early 1990s, and he was deported from the country at the time for his implication in a smuggling case between Egypt and Turkey.

ii.In 2010, Anadolu opened an office in Cairo, after receiving accreditation from the Press Center of SIS.

iii. In 2012, Anadolu submitted a request to convert its Cairo office to a regional office that included 42 reporters, photographers and technicians.

iv. In 2013, due to violations committed by Anadolu’s Cairo crew, in the aftermath of the June 30th revolution, the competent authority’s shutdown their office on August 29th 2013, and as of this date the Anadolu Agency has no legal presence in Egypt, as all attempts made by the Turkish embassy in Egypt to accredit the agency's reporters were rejected, and this refusal is an exercise of the guaranteed sovereignty rights of every country on its territory.

3.The content of the Turkish official statements linking the arrested persons to Turkey’s role in the region, specifically Libya, reveals the nature of the intentions and activities of those persons; Turkey’s official statements admit the fact that those people were playing a role within the framework of aggressive Turkish policies against Egypt which in turn constitutes a violation of Egyptian law.

SIS refutes these fallacies and assures their colleagues the foreign correspondents accredited and residing in Egypt that its keen on preserving freedom of the press, and further reaffirms its commitment to internationally recognized professional rules of conduct of journalistic work, which is guaranteed to everyone who adheres to the rules of accreditation and the established procedures.



]]>
1/16/2020 8:52:37 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Legislative elections set in Nov. 2020: Abu Shoka]]>
During meeting with Malawi's parliament delegation in Cairo he added that the current round of the parliament is going to end by January 2021 according to the constitution, therefore, the election is going to be held in November 2020.

As for the Presidential elections, Abu Shoka said that it will be held by March 2024, and not necessarily in conjunction with the legislative elections.

Head of the Malawi's parliament delegation stressed on the importance of enhancing the Egyptian-Malawian relations especially on the parliamentary level. He added that Egypt has a long and rich history "that everyone can learn from it".

On November, Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel Aal confirmed that the current legislative term ends in January 2021.

]]>
1/16/2020 8:16:48 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia reach initial agreement on Renaissance dam after 9 years of disagreement]]>
Foreign Ministers and Water Ministers of the three countries held a series of three-day meetings at the US Department of Treasury in Washington on January 13-15 after they had reached a deadlock at the end of the US, WB-brokered discussions held in the period between November 15, 2019, and January 9, 2020.

At the end of the meetings which were attended by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and President of the World Bank David Malpass in Washington D.C. on Wednesday evening, the three countries reached an agreement on all different points regarding the filling and operation of the $4-billion dam, which locates on the Blue Nile.

“The Ministers noted the progress achieved in the four technical meetings among the Ministers of Water Resources and their two prior meetings in Washington D.C. and the outcomes of those meetings and their joint commitment to reach a comprehensive, cooperative, adaptive, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” they said in a joint statement.

Concerning the issue of filling the dam’s reservoir with water, the three countries agreed that the filling process will be implemented in stages to not cause any harm to the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan. Firstly, the initial stage of filling will be conducted during the Nile wet season, generally from July to August [the annual season of Nile rainwater], and will continue in September, they said, adding that the filling process during this period will be “subject to certain conditions.”

It was also agreed that the dam will be filled with water, in the initial stage, to reach a level of 595 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.) and to generate electricity for the Ethiopians, with taking “appropriate mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan in case of severe droughts during this stage,” which was one of the main points of disagreement between Egypt and Ethiopia.

“The Ministers agree that there is a shared responsibility of the three countries in managing drought and prolonged drought,” the statement read.

Secondly, the subsequent stages of the filling process will depend on the hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile by putting into consideration the level needed for producing the electricity for Ethiopia and adopted mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan.

The dam operation was another point of contention between the three countries. However, the Washington meeting resulted in agreeing on that the dam will be operated according to a mechanism “that determines release based upon the hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile and the level of the GERD that provides electricity generation and appropriate mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan during prolonged periods of dry years, drought and prolonged drought.”

The three countries also announced that they will provide a mechanism and make conditions regarding the disputed points, adding that they will meet again in Washington D.C. on January 28-29 to “finalize a comprehensive agreement” on the controversial dam.

The disagreement between the three states dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Cairo has voiced its concerns that building the dam could harm its 55.5 billion cubic meters share as 80 percent of Egypt’s share comes from the Blue Nile and Ethiopian Heights, while Ethiopia says it is necessary for its development and electricity production. However, the three countries reached an initial deal, announcing the “Declaration of Principle,” per which the dam should cause any harm to the Nile downstream countries.]]>
1/16/2020 3:08:27 PM
<![CDATA[African Leadership fellows dedicate song in memory of Nasser's birth anniversary]]>


The Ministry of Youth and Sports, chaired by Dr. Ashraf Sobhi, released the Nasser Leadership Fellowship Song. Nasser Fellowship was launched by the ministry through the “Central Administration of the Parliament and Civic Education, and the African Youth Bureau” under the auspices of Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, in cooperation with the African Union, during the period from 8 to 22 June 2019.

The release of the song coincides with the birth anniversary of Leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. The song was chanted by the fellows of the Nasser Fellowship for African Leadership, under the artistic supervision of the Afri-Cairo Art Foundation.

It should be noted that the Nasser Leadership Fellowship sought to train 100 executive leaders of the African Union member states: decision makers from both public and private sectors; civil society youths, heads of national councils for youths; faculty staff at universities; researchers at strategic research Centers, members of trade unions, journalists and media professionals.

Nasser Fellowship is the first inter-African Fellowship, and it is implementing the "One Million by 2021" Initiative that aims to qualify one million young Africans by 2021. The initiative was recently launched by the AU Commission on Science, Technology and Human Resources in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The aim of the fellowship is to popularize the authentic Egyptian experience in national institution-building and to create a new generation of young African transforming leaders whose visions are in line with the orientations of Egypt's presidency of the African Union, and committed to serving the objectives of African unity by enhancing integration. In addition, the fellowship geared towards gathering the most influential young African leaders across the continent in order to equip them with the necessary training and skills, as well as to educate them about strategic visions.]]>
1/16/2020 11:51:21 AM
<![CDATA[et reviews most important information about Berenice military base]]>
Bernice military base is the most recently inaugurated of a series of Egyptian military bases, which were established as part of a plan to develop and modernize the Egyptian army.

et reviews the most important information about the new military base:

Bernice military base is located southern the Red Sea.

Bernice military base is the second in a series of new military bases.

The base’s mission is to protect and secure the Egyptian southern coasts, protect economic investments and natural resources, and confront security challenges within the Red Sea. This is in addition to securing the global navigation traffic in the Red Sea.

The base includes an air base, a sophisticated naval base and many shooting ranges.

The base includes a military hospital and a dock.]]>
1/15/2020 5:21:48 PM
<![CDATA[All you need to know about US-Egyptian deceased inmate Moustafa Kassem]]>
Kassem was imprisoned on charges of disturbing public peace, terrorizing, intimidation, and spreading horror among citizens.

In this regard, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior stressed in a statement that Kassem received the necessary health care and was not – by any means – denied of his legal rights, including visitations.

The statement included the following facts about Kassem, his trial, and imprisonment:

1 - The incident has been judicially investigated with the acknowledgment of the Public Prosecution, a neutral and independent judicial body.

2 - The investigations are based on criminal incidents committed by the defendant; the incidents constitute "crimes" in the Egyptian Penal Code.

3 - During his questioning, the defendant was shown his indictment, as well as the evidence. He was enabled to testify and defend himself.

4 - The Public Prosecution may not question the defendant or cross-examine him by bringing other witnesses or defendants unless in the presence of his lawyer, according to the criminal procedures of criminal cases and misdemeanors punishable by prison. The only exception is when a defendant is caught red-handed or in a case of haste in fear of losing evidence, as must be proven in the investigation report. The Public Prosecution also must appoint a lawyer for the defendant if he does not have one.

5 - The defendant was examined to ensure his body has no traumas, and for the Public Prosecution to record any observations.

6 - The defendant's vital signs were stable and his consciousness was full in a medical examination, according to a report dated 7/4/2019 by the Ministry of Interior's Prison Sector.

7 - The procedures of the pretrial detention were in line with the conditions set by the criminal code in terms of the period of remand, the reasons for it and the Public Prosecution's legal authority in this regard. It is worth noting that the decisions renewing remand are issued after the defendant appears with his lawyer before the judge in intervals stipulated in the criminal code.

In the case no. 34150 for the year 2015, which belongs to Nasr City First Criminal Constituency and is registered under the no. 2985 Eastern Cairo, known as “Rabaa sit-in dispersal.”

The facts: The defendant’s name was the 107th in the list of the accused in the said case, where it is noted that he held the U.S. nationality.

During the time from June 21, 2013 to August 14, 2013 in Nasr City First area, the defendant joined a gang that attacked a segment of the residents and showed armed resistance to the authorities. In a group of more than five people, their acts aimed at a terrorist objective of disturbing public peace, terrorizing, intimidation, spreading horror among people, endangering their lives, freedoms, and security.

The group assaulted people, encroached on private money, and resisted policemen tasked with dispersing the gathering. They were indicted with premeditated murder, sabotage, willful damage to and illegitimate occupation of buildings and public property, disrupting public facilities, blocking traffic, purposefully stopping and endangering public land transport, limiting the movement of citizens, forcibly depriving them from their freedom of movement using firearms, bladed weapons, explosives and other tools used to assaults people.

The Rabaa square was an unprecedented “horror” scene to ordinary citizens as Muslim Brotherhood members and supported would stash weapons and explosive devices to use for confronting security forces and the Egyptian army, which saved Egypt and the people of Egypt from the grip of the bloodthirsty Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group. Not to mention loud speeches that only included intimidation and calls for revenge against Egypt and its army.

In a court session dated August 8, 2018, Kassem was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the crimes committed.

The statement further affirmed that Kassem insisted on pursuing his hunger strike despite being advised – on more than on occasion – of how serious this can be to his health condition, especially that he had diabetes.

“Kassem was provided with all the required legal and medical procedures to prevent him from harming himself, with the follow-up and care of the embassy of the United States,” the statement added.

Egypt has been facing a wave of fake reports that are often based on biased quotes circulated by sympathizers and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.

Kassem went on a hunger strike while he was serving a sentence in Tora prison, and when his health deteriorated, he was sent to the prison’s hospital.

Medical reports said that he had high blood sugar, which led him to be transferred to Cairo University Hospital to receive medical care on Sunday. He was announced dead there.

The top prosecutor also requested his medical file and opened an investigation with the doctors who supervised his health case.

The defendant's vital signs were stable and his consciousness was full in a medical examination, according to a report dated 7/4/2019 by the Ministry of Interior's Prison Sector.

According to an official source, the defendant was shown his indictment during questioning, as well as the evidence. He was enabled to testify and defend himself.

Egypt has been fighting a fierce war against terrorism since the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi from power following a popular uprising in 2013, as figures of the terrorist group have threatened on more than one occasion to revenge against the country and its army, which protected and supported the citizens against the ruling and massacres of the blood-thirsty group.

A number of fake news and reports were exposed and denounced regarding human rights in Egypt, including the case of Zubeida Ibrahim, who was mistakenly reported by BBC to be enforced disappeared in Egypt.

Cairo exposes BBC inaccurate report on situation in Egypt


Study reveals bias in Western media coverage of Egyptian politics
]]>
1/15/2020 4:37:31 PM
<![CDATA[FM: We look forward to reaching balanced agreement on GERD talks]]>
Shoukry stressed that Egypt is ready to continue negotiations within the coming days with the aim of achieving the interests of the three countries, preserving their rights and securing Egypt's water interests.

This came during the minister’s participation in the ongoing meetings on the rules for filling and operating the Renaissance Dam in Washington with the participation of the ministers of foreign affairs, and water resources and Irrigation of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Meetings were held between the three ministers headed by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchen in addition to several meetings at the technical level to discuss the details of the rules for filling and operating the Renaissance Dam, including the measures that Ethiopia must take during the filling and operating phases to reduce the effects of drought and prolonged drought.

Also, a meeting was held by American President Donald Trump with the ministers of the three countries, where Shoukry expressed Egypt's appreciation of the American president's interest in this vital file.

On Jan. 12, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that he asked South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to mediate to find solutions to the disagreement between the three countries after the latest round of negotiations ended in stalemate.

“As for Cyril Ramaphosa, he is a good friend for both Ethiopia and Egypt and is the upcoming president of the African Union. He can mediate a discussion between both parties to solve the issue peacefully because peace is the foundation of everything here in Africa,” said Ahmed in his speech on Saturday.

“That is why he can mediate as a brother of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. I am sure that he will play a significant role in bringing us a win-win approach,” he added.

At the end of the last round of the tripartite meetings between the water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on January 9, 2020, Egypt and Ethiopia announced that the two-day discussions reached a deadlock again.

Egypt said that it attempted to create a convergence of views via submitting a group of proposals and studies that guarantee for Ethiopia to generate electricity continuously and efficiently during periods of severe drought without causing harm to the Egyptian water share. Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said, “Egypt’s proposal will make the dam be filled in 12 - 21 years’ time and obliges Ethiopia to compensate the cumulative deficit in water it uses to fill the dam.”

To resume the stalled talks, it has been agreed that the US Department of Treasury will host a meeting for the foreign and water ministers of the three countries to find solutions on January 13. Both Minister Shoukry and Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Atti headed to Washington to attend the meeting and hold a series of talks with the US officials and other concerned parties. The meeting also will be attended by representatives from the World Bank.

The difference between the countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.

Later, the United States sent an invitation to the three countries to resume the talks, and it has been agreed on November 6, 2019, in Washington to conduct the four rounds of meetings in the presence of representatives from the United States and the World Bank. The first meeting was held on November 15-16 in Addis Ababa, while the second round was on December 2-3 in Cairo. The third round convened in Khartoum on December 22-23.

Egyptian Spokesperson of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed el-Sibai said that there are three points are behind the deadlock between the three countries.

"Firstly, both countries did not reach a consensus on the years of filling the dam’s reservoir during drought and prolonged droughts," he told "Hadret al-Muwaten" [Or Mr. citizen] talk show on AlHadathAlyoum on Saturday.

“The second point of disagreement is the mechanism of dam operation during and after filling the reservoir, while the third point is linking the Renaissance dam to all other dams on the Nile, particularly the High Dam, during the filling period to not cause any harm to the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan]," he continued.]]>
1/15/2020 2:57:43 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan Parl't Speaker urges Arab Parl't to withdraw recognition of GNA's council]]>
Addressing the Arab Parliament session, Saleh called on the Arab Parliament to support efforts of the Libyan people to counter terrorism and stand against the Turkish invasion of his country.

He asserted that the Libyan parliament is the legitimate entity in Libya and there should not be any agreements without its approval and any agreement that is reached without its approval is null and void.

Saleh also said that any violation of the constitutional declaration in Libya is a breach of its unity, safety and territorial integrity.]]>
1/15/2020 1:02:41 PM
<![CDATA[AP Speaker warns of danger of regional interference to revive colonial ambitions]]>
Giving a word at the second meeting of the fourth session of the parliament’s second legislative term that kicked off in Cairo on Wednesday, Salami said that the rapid developments in the Arab world reached an extremely dangerous level, taking into account the conflicts and external interference in some Arab countries that posed a direct threat to the Arab national security.

In spite of challenges and sensitive conditions in the Arab region, the Palestinian cause remains the first and central issue for the Arab world, Salami said.

He pledged that the Arab Parliament will continue to support the Palestinian people to attain their legitimate rights.]]>
1/15/2020 1:01:45 PM
<![CDATA[Interior Ministry affirms US-Egyptian Kassem recieved neccessary healthcare, insisted on strike despite warnings]]>
The statement was issued to clarify and denounce erroneous and baseless reports regarding Mustafa Kassem, who according to the ministry, was sentenced after an official trial for his involvement in committing terrorist acts.

The ministry stressed that the convict had received the necessary healthcare during his time, in addition to visits from members of his family and the US embassy.

The statement further affirmed that Kassem insisted on pursuing his hunger strike despite being advised – on more than on occasion – of how serious this can be to his health condition, especially that he had diabetes.

“Kassem was provided with all the required legal and medical procedures to prevent him from harming himself, with the follow-up and care of the embassy of the United States,” the statement added.

Egypt has been facing a wave of fake reports that are often based on biased quotes circulated by sympathizers and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.

Kassem was detained in 2013 over taking part in a sit-in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood; he was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2018.

He went on a hunger strike while he was serving a sentence in Tora prison, and when his health deteriorated, he was sent to the prison’s hospital.

Medical reports said that he had high blood sugar, which led him to be transferred to Cairo University Hospital to receive medical care on Sunday. He was announced dead there.

The top prosecutor also requested his medical file and opened an investigation with the doctors who supervised his health case.

The defendant's vital signs were stable and his consciousness was full in a medical examination, according to a report dated 7/4/2019 by the Ministry of Interior's Prison Sector.

According to an official source, the defendant was shown his indictment during questioning, as well as the evidence. He was enabled to testify and defend himself.

Egypt has been fighting a fierce war against terrorism since the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi from power following a popular uprising in 2013, as figures of the terrorist group have threatened on more than one occasion to revenge against the country and its army, which protected and supported the citizens against the ruling and massacres of the blood-thirsty group.

A number of fake news and reports were exposed and denounced regarding human rights in Egypt, including the case of Zubeida Ibrahim, who was mistakenly reported by BBC to be enforced disappeared in Egypt.

Cairo exposes BBC inaccurate report on situation in Egypt


Study reveals bias in Western media coverage of Egyptian politics
]]>
1/15/2020 12:22:20 AM
<![CDATA[Libyan Speaker arrives in Cairo to attend Arab Parliament meeting]]>
Germany announced that the countries taking part in the conference hosted in Berlin on Libya include the United States, Russia, China, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, and others. Invitations were sent to Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj.

The Libyan foreign ministry issued a statement on Tuesday requesting the international community to fulfill its duties by pressuring GNA-affiliated militias to surrender and give up their weapons obeying the Libyan people’s will.

Anadolu Agency reported that the LNA is amassing southern Tripoli while Al Arabiya announced that clashes resumed in Salahuddin district south of Tripoli.

The Russian foreign ministry announced earlier on Tuesday that Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar left Moscow without signing a truce agreement drafted while the talks were ongoing Monday, according to TASS. The draft was signed by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, who left for Turkey.

Haftar had requested to study the document until Tuesday morning; yet, he arrived in Benghazi without endorsing the deal.

The Russian defense ministry declared on Tuesday that Hafter is taking two days to discuss truce agreement with allies, Sputnik reported.

Military sources close to the LNA’s General Command told the media that the three reasons Haftar rejected the agreement are the absence of a timeline for dismantling militias, the presence of many loopholes, and eagerness to halt bloodshed among Libyan people.

Libyan activist Fathullah al-Fergany, who is close to LNA’s commander, told Sputnik that if no agreement is reached upon the disintegration of militias, “the ceasefire will end, the battle will continue, and the army lying two kilomters from the capital will restore the city as the militias will be forcefully driven out in all possible ways.”

In statements to press after a meeting with SriLankan counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that extremists are moving from Syria to Libya and that all parties in the North African country to face up to their responsibilities.

In the same context, Lavrov added that 90 percent of Syrian territories are held by the “legitimate government” and that the rest, mainly Idlib, are hotspots of terror activity. As extremists are gradually losing sites, they head to Libya to cause trouble, the Russian foreign minister stated.

On Monday, the talks started with a meeting between the foreign and defense ministers of Russia and Turkey followed by a meeting of Haftar, Libyan Speaker Aguila Saleh and Russian representatives and another of Sarraj, Head of the GNA High Council of State Khaled al-Mishri, and Russian and Turkish representatives, Sputnik reported.

The LNA announced on Monday that it would not withdraw from the territories it had conquered in Tripoli’s outskirts, and that it is determined to free the entire Libyan soil from militias and terror groups.

A ceasefire between both parties started on Sunday; however, LNA and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh announced on the same day that militias affiliated to Tripoli-based GNA had violated the ceasefire. Nevertheless, the LNA affirmed its commitment to the ceasefire.

Last week, LNA captured Sirte and was advancing towards Misrata after entering Tripoli’s outskirts.

Saleh stated on Sunday that his country may need to request the intervention of the Egyptian Armed Forces, if a foreign intervention takes place in Libya. The Libyan Speaker made the statement while visiting Egypt’s House of Representatives as he attended the plenary session and met with the General Committee and Egyptian counterpart Ali Abdel Aal.

On Wednesday, Turkey declared sending 35 soldiers to Libya claiming they would not take part in combat. Nevertheless, Libya Review publication reported on Saturday that three Turkish soldiers were killed in Libya, and six others were injured. The bodies were brought to Misrata airport while the injured have received treatment at Nalut hospital near Tripoli.

In December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 300 militants affiliated to Turkey have been relocated to the Libyan capital from Syria and that 900-1,000 militants moved to Turkish camps to receive training.

Earlier in the same month, Turkey and the non-elected GNA signed two MoUs pertinent to military cooperation and maritime border demarcation. On Sunday, Saleh condemned in his speech in Cairo the measure because the GNA is not elected and has not got the approval of the elected House of Representatives to sign such MoUs describing the move as an act of high treason.
]]>
1/14/2020 5:54:06 PM
<![CDATA[Top prosecutor orders autopsy of US-Egyptian prisoner’s body ]]>
Egyptian-American Qassem was detained in 2013 over taking part in a sit-in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood; he was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2018.

Qassem went on a hunger strike while he was serving a sentence in Tora prison, and when his health deteriorated, he was sent to the prison’s hospital.

Qassem was diabetic and medical reports said that he had high blood sugar, which led him to be transferred to Cairo University Hospital to receive medical care on Sunday. He was announced dead there.

The top prosecutor also requested his medical file and opened an investigation with the doctors who supervised his health case.

The defendant's vital signs were stable and his consciousness was full in a medical examination, according to a report dated 7/4/2019 by the Ministry of Interior's Prison Sector.

According to an official source, the defendant was shown his indictment during questioning, as well as the evidence. He was enabled to testify and defend himself.
]]>
1/14/2020 5:23:23 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Conte agree on need for comprehensive solution to Libyan crisis]]>
According to a statement released by official spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency Bassam Rady on Tuesday, the meeting came in light of the upcoming Berlin conference and within the framework of Rome's mediation efforts to solve the Libyan crisis.

The two sides also agreed that solving this issue will restore stability in Libya, support its national capabilities and institutions, and preserve its territorial integrity.

Rady’s statement pointed out that the two sides also discussed the latest developments of Regeni’s case, where President Sisi reaffirmed Egypt’s perseverance to find out the truth.

Sisi stressed that the Egyptian authorities are cooperating with the Italian authorities to reveal all the details of the case.
]]>
1/14/2020 3:48:32 PM
<![CDATA[LNA insists on militias dismantling, clashes resume]]>
Anadolu Agency reported that the LNA is amassing southern Tripoli while Al Arabiya announced that clashes resumed in Salahuddin district south of Tripoli.

The Russian foreign ministry announced earlier on Tuesday that Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar left Moscow without signing a truce agreement drafted while the talks were ongoing Monday, according to TASS. The draft was signed by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, who left for Turkey.

Haftar had requested to study the document until Tuesday morning; yet, he arrived in Benghazi without endorsing the deal.

The Russian defense ministry declared on Tuesday that Hafter is taking two days to discuss truce agreement with allies, Sputnik reported.

Military sources close to the LNA’s General Command told the media that the three reasons Haftar rejected the agreement are the absence of a timeline for dismantling militias, the presence of many loopholes, and eagerness to halt bloodshed among Libyan people.

Libyan activist Fathullah al-Fergany, who is close to LNA’s commander, told Sputnik that if no agreement is reached upon the disintegration of militias, “the ceasefire will end, the battle will continue, and the army lying two kilomters from the capital will restore the city as the militias will be forcefully driven out in all possible ways.”

In statements to press after a meeting with SriLankan counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that extremists are moving from Syria to Libya and that all parties in the North African country to face up to their responsibilities.

In the same context, Lavrov added that 90 percent of Syrian territories are held by the “legitimate government” and that the rest, mainly Idlib, are hotspots of terror activity. As extremists are gradually losing sites, they head to Libya to cause trouble, the Russian foreign minister stated.

On Monday, the talks started with a meeting between the foreign and defense ministers of Russia and Turkey followed by a meeting of Haftar, Libyan Speaker Aguila Saleh and Russian representatives and another of Sarraj, Head of the GNA High Council of State Khaled al-Mishri, and Russian and Turkish representatives, Sputnik reported.

The LNA announced on Monday that it would not withdraw from the territories it had conquered in Tripoli’s outskirts, and that it is determined to free the entire Libyan soil from militias and terror groups.

A ceasefire between both parties started on Sunday; however, LNA and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh announced on the same day that militias affiliated to Tripoli-based GNA had violated the ceasefire. Nevertheless, the LNA affirmed its commitment to the ceasefire.

Last week, LNA captured Sirte and was advancing towards Misrata after entering Tripoli’s outskirts.

Saleh stated on Sunday that his country may need to request the intervention of the Egyptian Armed Forces, if a foreign intervention takes place in Libya. The Libyan Speaker made the statement while visiting Egypt’s House of Representatives as he attended the plenary session and met with the General Committee and Egyptian counterpart Ali Abdel Aal.

On Wednesday, Turkey declared sending 35 soldiers to Libya claiming they would not take part in combat. Nevertheless, Libya Review publication reported on Saturday that three Turkish soldiers were killed in Libya, and six others were injured. The bodies were brought to Misrata airport while the injured have received treatment at Nalut hospital near Tripoli.

In December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 300 militants affiliated to Turkey have been relocated to the Libyan capital from Syria and that 900-1,000 militants moved to Turkish camps to receive training.

Earlier in the same month, Turkey and the non-elected GNA signed two MoUs pertinent to military cooperation and maritime border demarcation. On Sunday, Saleh condemned in his speech in Cairo the measure because the GNA is not elected and has not got the approval of the elected House of Representatives to sign such MoUs describing the move as an act of high treason.
]]>
1/14/2020 2:46:35 PM
<![CDATA[Parl't approves emergency state extension for 3 months]]>
Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said that the parliament received President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's decree No.20 of 2020 to extend the emergency state on January 12.]]>
1/14/2020 2:34:04 PM
<![CDATA[Libya's Haftar leaves Russia without signing ceasefire agreement]]>
"The Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has now left Moscow for Benghazi, and he will not sign the agreement unless a timetable is set to end and disband the militias," an LNA source told Sputnik Arabic news agency.]]>
1/14/2020 11:58:19 AM
<![CDATA[Baghdad will not sign agreement keeping US forces in Iraq: gov't spox]]>
He stressed that the Iraqi government will support the parliament’s vote on the withdrawal of US forces from the country.

"Up to this point, the Iraqi government is committed to implementing the decision of the Iraqi parliament, which stipulates that all foreign forces should withdraw from Iraq. Foreign forces do not only mean the presence of American forces. But all other foreign forces are in Iraq," the spokesman added.]]>
1/14/2020 11:55:44 AM
<![CDATA[Pompeo shifts rationale for Soleimani killing from ‘imminent’ threat to deterrence strategy]]>
“President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrents – real deterrents – against the Islamic Republic,” Pompeo said in a speech at Stanford’s Hoover Institute on Monday.

Pompeo said that the US is now in the greatest position of strength regarding Iran ever because of the stringent sanctions that Trump re-imposed on the Islamic Republic following his withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

The importance of deterrence isn’t confined to Iran, Pompeo said. "In all cases, we must deter foes to defend freedom. That’s the whole point of President Trump’s work to make our military the strongest it’s ever been”. ]]>
1/14/2020 11:27:02 AM
<![CDATA[Negotiations to reach truce agreement in Libya fail]]>
The LNA had announced earlier on Monday that it would not withdraw from the territories it conquered in Tripoli’s outskirts, and that it is determined to free the entire Libyan soil from militias and terror groups.

Sources told Al Arabiya that the intended agreement would provide that the LNA secures oil and gas wells, and combats terrorism. The deal also would consist of an international supervision of urban and maritime ports as well as a reciprocal withdrawal of forces.

A ceasefire between both parties started on Sunday; however, LNA and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh announced on the same day that militias affiliated to Tripoli-based GNA had violated the ceasefire. Nevertheless, the LNA affirmed its commitment to the ceasefire.

Last week, LNA captured Sirte and was advancing towards Misrata after entering Tripoli’s outskirts.

Saleh stated on Sunday that his country may need to request the intervention of the Egyptian Armed Forces, if a foreign intervention takes place in Libya. The Libyan Speaker made the statement while visiting Egypt’s House of Representatives as he attended the plenary session and met with the General Committee and Egyptian counterpart Ali Abdel Aal.

On Wednesday, Turkey declared sending 35 soldiers to Libya claiming they would not take part in combat. Nevertheless, Libya Review publication reported on Saturday that three Turkish soldiers were killed in Libya, and six others were injured. The bodies were brought to Misrata airport while the injured have received treatment at Nalut hospital near Tripoli.

In December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 300 militants affiliated to Turkey have been relocated to the Libyan capital from Syria and that 900-1,000 militants moved to Turkish camps to receive training.

Earlier in the same month, Turkey and GNA signed two MoUs pertinent to military cooperation and maritime border demarcation. On Sunday, Saleh condemned in his speech in Cairo the measure because the GNA is not elected and has not got the approval of the elected House of Representatives to sign such MoUs describing the move as an act of high treason.
]]>
1/13/2020 6:44:28 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan National Army affirms remaining on Tripoli outskirts]]>
Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj started a meeting on Monday in Moscow, Sky News Arabia reported.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss “the possibility of signing a truce and the details of such a document,” Reuters citing Interfax.

Sources told Al Arabiya that the prospective agreement provides that the LNA secures oil and gas wells, and combats terrorism. The deal also consists of an international supervision of urban and maritime ports as well as a reciprocal withdrawal of forces.

A ceasefire between both parties started on Sunday; however, LNA and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh announced on the same day that militias affiliated to Tripoli-based GNA had violated the ceasefire. Nevertheless, the LNA affirmed its commitment to the ceasefire.

Last week, LNA captured Sirte and was advancing towards Misrata after entering Tripoli’s outskirts.

Saleh stated on Sunday that his country may need to request the intervention of the Egyptian Armed Forces, if a foreign intervention takes place in Libya. The Libyan Speaker made the statement while visiting Egypt’s House of Representatives as he attended the plenary session and met with the General Committee and Egyptian counterpart Ali Abdel Aal.

On Wednesday, Turkey declared sending 35 soldiers to Libya claiming they would not take part in combat. Nevertheless, Libya Review publication reported on Saturday that three Turkish soldiers were killed in Libya, and six others were injured. The bodies were brought to Misrata airport while the injured have received treatment at Nalut hospital near Tripoli.

In December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 300 militants affiliated to Turkey have been relocated to the Libyan capital from Syria and that 900-1,000 militants moved to Turkish camps to receive training.

Earlier in the same month, Turkey and GNA signed two MoUs pertinent to military cooperation and maritime border demarcation. On Sunday, Saleh condemned in his speech in Cairo the measure because the GNA is not elected and has not got the approval of the elected House of Representatives to sign such MoUs describing the move as an act of high treason.
]]>
1/13/2020 4:31:38 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan leaders meet in Moscow to discuss truce]]>
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss “the possibility of signing a truce and the details of such a document,” Reuters citing Interfax.

Sources told Al Arabiya that the prospective agreement provides that the LNA secures oil and gas wells, and combats terrorism. The deal also consists of an international supervision of urban and maritime ports as well as a reciprocal withdrawal of forces.

A ceasefire between both parties started on Sunday; however, LNA and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh announced on the same day that militias affiliated to Tripoli-based GNA had violated the ceasefire. Nevertheless, the LNA affirmed its commitment to the ceasefire.

Last week, LNA captured Sirte and was advancing towards Misrata after entering Tripoli’s outskirts.

Saleh stated on Sunday that his country may need to request the intervention of the Egyptian Armed Forces, if a foreign intervention takes place in Libya. The Libyan Speaker made the statement while visiting Egypt’s House of Representatives as he attended the plenary session and met with the General Committee and Egyptian counterpart Ali Abdel Aal.

On Wednesday, Turkey declared sending 35 soldiers to Libya claiming they would not take part in combat. Nevertheless, Libya Review publication reported on Saturday that three Turkish soldiers were killed in Libya, and six others were injured. The bodies were brought to Misrata airport while the injured have received treatment at Nalut hospital near Tripoli.

In December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 300 militants affiliated to Turkey have been relocated to the Libyan capital from Syria and that 900-1,000 militants moved to Turkish camps to receive training.

Earlier in the same month, Turkey and GNA signed two MoUs pertinent to military cooperation and maritime border demarcation. On Sunday, Saleh condemned in his speech in Cairo the measure because the GNA is not elected and has not got the approval of the elected House of Representatives to sign such MoUs describing the move as an act of high treason.
]]>
1/13/2020 1:14:31 PM
<![CDATA[Ethiopia asks for South Africa’s mediation in Renaissance Dam talks]]>
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that he asked South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to mediate to find solutions to the disagreement between the three countries after the latest round of negotiations ended in stalemate.

“As for Cyril Ramaphosa, he is a good friend for both Ethiopia and Egypt and is the upcoming president of the African Union. He can make a discussion between both parties to solve the issue peacefully because peace is the foundation of everything here in Africa,” said Ahmed in his speech on Saturday.

“That is why he can mediate as a brother between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. I am sure that he will play a significant role in bringing us a win-win approach,” he added.

In his speech during the conference, Ramaphosa welcomed the role of mediation, saying “What is pleasing is that both countries are willing to discuss this matter and find solutions. I had a brief discussion with President Sisi and he touched to me that he is willing to have discussions with Ethiopia and the same has been pronounced by the Prime Minister, Abiy ahmed."

“I believe that finding a solution is possible because the two countries are great countries and the Nile River is important to both countries. There must be a way through which the interests can been addressed and there must be a way through which solutions can been found,” he added, continuing “As for ourselves, we are willing to play a role for facilitating whatever agreement that can be crafted and we remain supportive to finding peaceful solutions between countries in our continent.”





At the end of the last round of the tripartite meetings between the water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on January 9, 2020, Egypt and Ethiopia announced that the two-day discussions reached a deadlock again.

Egypt said that it attempted to create a convergence of views via submitting a group of proposals and studies that guarantee for Ethiopia to generate electricity continuously and efficiently during periods of severe drought without causing harm to the Egyptian water share. Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said “Egypt’s proposal will make the dam be filled in 12 - 21 years’ time and obliges Ethiopia to compensate the cumulative deficit in water it uses to fill the dam.”

To resume the stalled talks, It has been agreed that the US Department of Treasury will host a meeting for the foreign and water minister of the three countries to find solutions on January 13. Both Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Atti headed to Washington to attend the meeting and hold a series of talks with the US officials and other concerned parties. The meeting also will be attended by representatives from the World Bank.

The difference between the countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.

Later, the United States sent an invitation to the three countries to resume the talks, and it has been agreed on November 6, 2019, in Washington to conduct the four rounds of meetings in the presence of representatives from the United States and the World Bank. The first meeting was held on November 15-16 in Addis Ababa, while the second round was on December 2-3 in Cairo. The third round convened in Khartoum on December 22-23.

Egyptian Spokesperson of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed el-Sibai said that there are three points are behind the deadlock between the three countries.

"Firstly, both countries did not reach a consensus on the years of filling the dam’s reservoir during drought and prolonged droughts," he told "Hadret al-Muwaten" [Or Mr. citizen] talk show on AlHadath Alyoum on Saturday.

“The second point of disagreement is the mechanism of dam operation during and after filling the reservoir, while the third point is linking the Renaissance dam to all other dams on the Nile, particularly the High Dam, during the filling period to not cause any harm to the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan]," he continued.



]]>
1/12/2020 5:51:47 PM
<![CDATA[3 points of disagreement between Egypt, Ethiopia over GRED: Spox]]>
Firstly, both countries did not reach a consensus on the years of filling the dam’s reservoir during drought and prolonged drought, he told "Hadret al-Muwaten" [Or Mr. citizen] talk show on Al-Hadath Al-Youm on Saturday.

“We [Egypt] proposed that the dam’s reservoir be filled with water in 6-7 years during moderate inflow of the floods; however, in the periods of drought and prolonged droughts, we are calling for setting certain mechanisms to deal with filling during the drought,” he said, adding that Egypt has asked to fill the dam with the water needed for generating electricity in coordination with Egypt and Sudan.

"The second point of disagreement is the mechanism of dam operation during and after filling the reservoir, while the third point is linking the Renaissance dam to all other dams on the Nile, particularly the High Dam, during the filling period to not cause any harm to the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan]," he continued.



During the last round of tripartite meetings between the water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, Egypt and Ethiopia announced that the two-day discussions reached a deadlock again. Egypt said that it attempted to create a convergence of views via submitting a group of proposals and studies that guarantee for Ethiopia to generate electricity continuously and efficiently during periods of severe drought without causing harm to the Egyptian water share.

However, no agreement was reached between the three countries on the amounts of water that should flow from the dam in the different hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile River, where the dam is being built, Egypt said.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said, “Egypt’s proposal will make the Dam be filled in 12 - 21 years’ time and obliges Ethiopia to compensate the cumulative deficit for the water it uses for Dam filling.”

At the end of the Thursday talks, it has been agreed that the US Department of Treasury will host a meeting for the foreign ministers and water ministers of the three countries, along with representatives from the US treasury and the World Bank on January 13 to tackle the points of disagreement, according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry headed earlier to Washington DC to participate in a meeting for the foreign ministers and water ministers to resume the talks about the dam, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry in a statement.

The difference between the countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.

Later, the United States sent an invitation to the three countries to resume the talks, and it has been agreed on November 6, 2019, in Washington to conduct the four rounds of meetings in the presence of representatives from the United States and the World Bank. The first meeting was held on November 15-16 in Addis Ababa, while the second round was on December 2-3 in Cairo. The third round convened in Khartoum on December 22-23.

Additional reporting by Samar Samir
]]>
1/12/2020 5:49:16 PM
<![CDATA[We may need to request Egyptian Armed Forces intervention: Libyan Speaker]]>
Saleh made the statement while visiting Egypt’s House of Representatives as he attended the plenary session and met with the General Committee and Speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

“Skhirat Agreement has no value on the ground in Libya...The international community has disregarded those documented facts and incessantly recognizes a presidential council that can be least described as a traitor. [The council] has ignored the willpower of Libyans and their right to defend and preserve their homeland.
[The council] ignored the legitimacy of the elected house of representatives and accepted the return of colonization. [The council] has not called for a unified Arab stance that supports the right of the Libyan House of Representatives to fulfill its duties and use its legislative powers as the only legitimate body in Libya refuting attempts to undermine its role. Signing agreements and treaties requires the endorsement of the House of Representatives. Otherwise, they are invalid,” Saleh said in his speech.

1
Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh (l) in Egypt's House of Representatives on January 12, 2020. Egypt Today/Khaled Mashaal


Saleh said that the MoUs signed between the non-elected Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey constitute a violation of 2015 Skhirat Agreement and Libyan sovereignty.

"That is because GNA has not acquired the approval of the House of Representatives and because the MoUs compose a threat to the regional security and a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," Saleh stressed, adding that GNA harbors militias breaching all international laws and norms.

Saleh said that the Skhirat Agreement has been broken and that the deal violates the 2011 Constitutional Declaration. Saleh added that GNA is an interim government that should have been toppled two years ago accusing Fayez al-Sarraj of treason, and paving the way for Turkish troops and militias to turn Libya into an Ottoman colony.

“I warn against the danger of proxy war waged by terror elements to fail the nation state in Libya,” Saleh said accusing GNA of theft and terrorism. He pointed out that the Libyan people seeks to establish a democratic civil state but is deterred by a terrorist conspiracy organized by Turkey “which has a bloody history and stands behind terrorism in the region.”

On the sidelines, Saleh told Extra News on Sunday that Tripoli militias breached the ceasefire, and that his visits to Egypt are part of attempts to resolve the Libyan crisis.

On his side, the Egyptian Speaker underlined that the Libyan and Egyptian national security are intertwined in light of the shared geo-politics, and that subsequently, continuous coordination and consultation are must on all levels. Abdel Aal asserted that Libyan resources belong to the Libyan people exclusively, saying that the MoUs signed between the non-elected Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey constitute a violation of international law.

Spokesperson of Egypt’s House of Representatives Salah Hasab Allah stated that the General Committee vigorously condemned in the meeting the Turkish Parliament’s approval to send troops to Libya, as such acts are a violation of international legitimacy principles and UN Security Council’s resolutions on Libya.

The committee also expressed support to the political leadership in all measures it perceives as mandated to deal with the situation. ]]>
1/12/2020 5:43:04 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, EU Council president back 'political settlement' in Libya]]>
The two presidents asserted that any settlement must preserve the Libyan national institutions, sovereignty and territorial integrity in a way that prevents "illegitimate foreign interference so stability can be restored in the region," according to an Egyptian presidential statement.

Michel praised the historical relations between the EU and Egypt, especially that Egypt has a political weight regionally and internationally, being a point of security and stability in the region amid turmoil in different neighboring countries.

2
Sisi and Michel - Press photo

He also applauded Egypt's efforts against illegal immigration, terrorism and extremist ideology. For his part, Sisi said Egypt looks forward to more cooperation with the EU in this regard to resolve these challenges at the roots.

The talks also involved the African continent, as Egypt is the current head of the African Union. Sisi and Michel spoke of cooperation in the field of reconstruction and development following conflicts, where the Egyptian president expressed his country's readiness to transfer its experience and expertise southward to execute development projects along with the EU.

]]>
1/12/2020 5:16:11 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan, Egyptian national security intertwined: Egypt’s speaker]]>
Abdel Aal asserted that Libyan resources belong to the Libyan people exclusively, saying that the MoUs signed between the non-elected Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey constitute a violation of international law.

Spokesperson of Egypt’s House of Representatives Salah Hasab Allah stated that the General Committee vigorously condemned in the meeting the Turkish Parliament’s approval to send troops to Libya, as such acts are a violation of international legitimacy principles and UN Security Council’s resolutions on Libya.

The committee also expressed support to the political leadership in all measures it perceives as mandated to deal with the situation.

Speaker of Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh told Extra News on Sunday that Tripoli militias breached the ceasefire, and that his visits to Egypt are part of attempts to resolve the Libyan crisis.

Saleh’s statements came on the sidelines of a visit to the Egyptian House of Representatives as he attended the plenary session along with accompanying delegation, and met with the General Committee and counterpart Ali Abdel Aal.



Saleh said that the MoUs signed between the non-elected Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey constitute a violation of the 2015 Skhirat Agreement and Libyan sovereignty.

"That is because GNA has not acquired the approval of the House of Representatives and because the MoUs compose a threat to the regional security and a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," Saleh stressed, adding that GNA harbors militias breaching all international laws and norms.

Saleh said that the Skhirat Agreement has been broken and that it violates the 2011 Constitutional Declaration. Saleh added that GNA is an interim government that should have been toppled 2 years ago, accusing Fayez al-Sarraj of treason, and paving the way for Turkish troops and militias to turn Libya into an Ottoman colony.

“I warn against the danger of proxy war waged by terror elements to fail the nation state in Libya,” Saleh said, accusing GNA of theft and terrorism. He pointed out that the Libyan people seek to establish a democratic civil state but is deterred by a terrorist conspiracy organized by Turkey “which has a bloody history and stands behind terrorism in the region.”

]]>
1/12/2020 5:10:01 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan speaker accuses Tripoli militias of ceasefire violation]]>
3
Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh in Egypt's House of Representatives on January 12, 2020. Egypt Today/Khaled Mashaal

Saleh’s statements came on the sidelines of a visit to the Egyptian House of Representatives as he attended the plenary session along with accompanying delegation, and met with the General Committee and counterpart Ali Abdel Aal.



Saleh said that the MoUs signed between the non-elected Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey constitute a violation of the 2015 Skhirat Agreement and Libyan sovereignty.

"That is because GNA has not acquired the approval of the House of Representatives and because the MoUs compose a threat to the regional security and a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," Saleh stressed, adding that GNA harbors militias breaching all international laws and norms.

Saleh said that the Skhirat Agreement has been broken and that it violates the 2011 Constitutional Declaration. Saleh added that GNA is an interim government that should have been toppled 2 years ago, accusing Fayez al-Sarraj of treason and paving the way for Turkish troops and militias to turn Libya into an Ottoman colony.

“I warn against the danger of proxy war waged by terror elements to fail the nation state in Libya,” Saleh said, accusing GNA of theft and terrorism. He pointed out that the Libyan people seek to establish a democratic civil state but is deterred by a terrorist conspiracy organized by Turkey “which has a bloody history and stands behind terrorism in the region.”

On his side, the Egyptian speaker underlined that the Libyan and Egyptian national security are intertwined in light of the shared geo-politics, and that subsequently, continuous coordination and consultation are a must on all levels. Abdel Aal asserted that Libyan resources exclusively belong to the Libyan people, saying that the MoUs signed between the non-elected Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey constitute a violation of international law.

Spokesperson of Egypt’s House of Representatives Salah Hasab Allah stated that the General Committee vigorously condemned in the meeting the Turkish Parliament’s approval to send troops to Libya, as such acts come as a violation of international legitimacy principles and UN Security Council’s resolutions on Libya.

The committee also expressed support to the political leadership in all measures it perceives as mandated to deal with the situation.

]]>
1/12/2020 5:04:20 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan Speaker to meet Egyptian counterpart Sunday]]>
The meetings will stress Egypt’s firm stance on the Libyan crisis, Wahdan states adding, “if there are disagreements upon two governerments, there is one army that is the Libyan National Army.” The deputy speaker also urges the Arab tribes in the neighboring country to back the Libyan National Army.

The plenary session kicked off in the presence of Saleh who was welcomed by Abdel Aal in the opening speech.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives stressed on January 5 that the Turkish interference in the Libyan domestic affairs is a new sort of invasion and considered as a practice of hegemony on the Libyan territories.

The committee's remarks came on Sunday during an extraordinary meeting, headed by MP Karim Darwish, to study the unprecedented Turkish escalation, which undermines regional and international efforts aiming at reaching a political settlement for the years-running Libyan conflict.

The Turkish parliament's approval to send military troops to Libya contradicts the determinants of international legitimacy and represents a blatant violation of the unity of the Libyan territories, it said.

Ankara's escalation threatens the Egyptian and Arab national security, a matter, which requires taking all the measures possible to maintain the Arab interests, the committee pointed out.

It called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards these serious developments that destabilize the whole region, especially the East Mediterranean area.

It lauded the Libyan tribes' national stances in rejection of Turkey's meddling in their country's affairs, stressing the Libyan people's unity is the only way to deter the Turkish invasion.

The committee valued the Libyan parliament's decision on refusing the agreement signed between Anakara and Fayez al Sarraj.

It also urged the Foreign Ministry to support the Libyan file in the United Nations, the Security Council, and international events.

Additional contribution by MENA
]]>
1/12/2020 12:18:42 PM
<![CDATA[Putin denies sending mercenaries to Libya]]>
During a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on Saturday, Putin said: "Even if there are any Russian citizens there, they don’t represent the interests of the Russian government .. And they don’t get money from the Russian government," Bloomberg reported.

For her part, Merkel said she "does not agree with the US approach" of imposing sanctions, which have already been decried by the German government for impinging on national sovereignty, according to Deutsche Welle.

She added that "despite the sanctions it will be possible to complete Nord Stream 2... There is a certain delay but it will be completed."]]>
1/12/2020 12:07:02 PM
<![CDATA[Who was Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said?]]>
After announcing his death, the Omani Defense Council immediately announced, in its first measure, that Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said assumed the position of the new Sultan of Oman.

The succession decrees require opening closed messages that specify the choice of the succeeding sultan after three days.

The 1996 law stipulates that the ruling family will choose a successor within three days of the throne being vacated.

In the below lines, et provides information about late Sultan Qaboos:

Qaboos, born in Salalah on 18 November 1940, received his primary and secondary education at Salalah then travelled to study in England at a private school at age 16. He entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After graduating from Sandhurst in September 1962, he joined the British Army and was posted to the 1st Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), serving with them in Germany for one year. He also held a staff appointment with the British Army.

Qaboos was briefly married to a first cousin. They had no children and divorced in 1979.

The sultan was previously diagnosed with colon cancer. He was believed to have been in poor health in recent months and travelled to Belgium for a medical checkup in December.

The eighth Sultan of Oman is considered in the direct hierarchy of the Al-Busaid family, founded by Imam Ahmed bin Saeed in 1741 and whose memory remains respected in Oman as an enlightened warrior and administrator, who also succeeded in uniting the country after years of civil war.

Sultan Qaboos won a number of prizes, most notably International Peace, the necklace of the Isabella Catholic Order, the Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, the Knight of the Royal Victorian Medal, the Medal of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Chorus of Honor, the Thin Scarf.

He implemented many development projects to raise the standard of living of the Omani citizen. He inaugurated many schools and hospitals while Oman had only three schools and no more than two hospitals in Muscat and Salalah in the beginning of 1970.

Besides his position as Sultan of Oman, he also served as Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning, and President of the Central Bank.]]>
1/11/2020 4:31:59 PM
<![CDATA[President of the European Council visits Egypt this week]]>
According to the weekly schedule of the European Council’s president as published on the council’s official website, Michel will meet on Sunday with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo. Michel will sit with Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan on Saturday in Istanbul.

The visit of the President of the European Council to the region coincides with the visit of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Germany prepares for Berlin Conference on Libya.

Europe has rejected foreign interference in the Libyan affairs, and condemned the Turkish military intervention in Libya to support the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli.

The European Union’s top diplomat and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and Italy condemned on Tuesday Turkey’s plans to send military experts and trainers to Libya, saying foreign interference there was exacerbating instability, according to Reuters.

The British agency also reported that the ministers and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell held talks in Brussels to call for a ceasefire as Libya’s internationally recognized government struggled to fend off a military offensive on its power base in the capital.

“Continuing outside interference is fuelling the crisis,” the ministers and Borrell said in their joint statement released after the meeting, as quoted by Reuters.

In remarks to reporters, Borrell said: “It is obvious that this made a reference to the Turkish decision to intervene with their troops in Libya, which is something that we reject,” Reuters reported.

Khalifa Haftar, chief of the Libyan National Army, on December 12th announced a “decisive” and “final battle” in Tripoli to “set it free” from armed militias. On January 6, 2020, the Libyan National Army forces seized the city of Sirte after attacking from five military axes to control several vital areas in the city such as Sirte port and Ghardabiya Airbase

In response, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to send Turkish troops to fight along with forces of the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA), Haftar’s rival.]]>
1/11/2020 2:05:51 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi declares 3-day mourning for death of Sultan Qaboos]]>
President Sisi offered his condolences to the Omani people for the death of Sultan Qboos, praising his supportive role in the regional and Arab issues.

“Late Sultan Qaboos was a leader of the Sultanate renaissance. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” President Sisi said on his Twitter account.




In case you missed it…

Oman's Diwan of Royal Court announces death of Sultan Qaboos

MUSCAT - 11 January 2020: Oman's Diwan of Royal Court announced that Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman passed away on Friday evening. The official Oman state news agency (ONA) mourned with great sorrow and deep sadness the longest serving Arab ruler.


]]>
1/11/2020 12:02:49 PM
<![CDATA[Oman: Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al Said succeeds late Qaboos]]>
Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said was chosen by Sultan Qaboos to succeed him, as the family opened his will this morning as per the established protocol in Oman, Gulf News reported.

The inauguration ceremony took place at Al Bustan palace on Saturday morning before the funeral of the late Sultan Qaboos.

The Council of Oman held an emergency session on Saturday morning at its headquarters in Al Bustan.

Haitham Bin Tareq Al Saeed was the minister of heritage and national culture, and the cousin of the late Sultan Qaboos.]]>
1/11/2020 11:46:44 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt slams Ethiopia for comments on Renaissance Dam]]>
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement criticizing the Ethipian side, saying that the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' statement on GERD negotiations includes some “misleading and unacceptable information '' on Egypt’s negotiations during the meeting, which was attended by representatives from the United States and the World Bank.

Ethiopia’s statement “deliberately involved misleading and distorting facts, and presented a picture totally inconsistent with the course of the negotiations and against Egypt's stances and its technical proposals,” Egypt said, noting that the statement runs counter to the realities of the series of three previous meetings that were held in light of the outcomes of Washington-held meeting on November 6, 2019.

Egypt also denied the claims made by Ethiopian side, saying that Egypt did not ask for filling the $4-billion dam’s reservoir over the span of 12-21 years.

“Contrary to what was stated by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry which claimed that Egypt requested to fill the Renaissance Dam in a period of 12 to 21 years, Egypt did not specify a number of years to fill Dam, but the three countries agreed more than a year ago on filling the dam in stages depending on the water inflow of the Blue Nile. The Egyptian proposal leads to filling the Renaissance Dam in 6 or 7 years if the river’s inflow is at the average or above average during the period of filling the dam. However, during the period of drought, the Egyptian proposal enables the Renaissance Dam to generate 80% of its electricity production, which means that the Ethiopian side will bear the minimum burden of drought,” Egypt said in Friday's statement.

Egypt also said that the four meeting failed to reach a deal due to Ethiopia’s intransigence, accusing Addis Ababa of imposing the policy of fait accompli and controlling over the Blue Nile with putting into consideration the water interests of the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan].

Egypt said that Ethiopia violates its legal obligations in accordance with international treaties and norms, “foremost among which is the Declaration of Principles Agreement concluded on March 23, 2015, as well as the 1902 agreement that Ethiopia concluded with its free will as an independent state, and the 1993 agreement in which it pledged not to cause harm to Egypt's water interests,” adding “Ethiopia is seeking to control the Blue Nile as it does in other common international rivers, in which it shares with other nations.”

Cairo submitted rules and mechanism cope with the hydrological changes of the Blue Nile inflow and with the expected years of drought during the period of filling the dam, the statement said, noting that the measures also take into consideration the slowdown in filling process and releasing amounts of water from Renaissance Dam’s reservoir to reduce its negative impacts on the downstream countries.

“Egypt expresses its surprise that whenever it asks for agreeing on effective steps to deal with the years of drought that may occur during the filling, Ethiopia is threatens to unilaterally fill the Renaissance Dam, the matter that Egypt rejected throughout the negotiations as it constitutes an explicit violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles Agreement and the Ethiopian obligations under the rules of international law,” the statement read.

Egypt deplored the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry’s comments which “do not help create an appropriate environment for tangible achievements in the negotiations.” Cairo affirmed its participation in the upcoming meeting for the foreign and water ministers of the three countries in the US Department of Treasury on January 13, 2020, in light of the outcomes of the Washington meeting that was held on November 6, 2019, the statement said.

At the end of the final round of a four-meeting series between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Thursday, Egypt and Ethiopia announced that the two-day discussions reached a deadlock again.

Egypt said that it attempted to create a convergence of views via submitting a group of proposals and studies that guarantee for Ethiopia to generate electricity continuously and efficiently during periods of severe drought without causing harm to the Egyptian water share. However, no agreement was reached between the three countries on the amounts of water that should flow from the dam in the different hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile river, where the dam is being built, Egypt added in a statement on Thursday evening.

In case you missed it…

Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia fail again to reach agreement on Renaissance dam

At the end of the final round of a four-meeting series between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Addis Ababa, the three countries failed to reach an agreement on the operating rules of the dam, announced




Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said “Egypt’s proposal will make the Dam be filled in 12 - 21 years’ time and obliges Ethiopia to compensate the “cumulative deficit” for the water it uses for Dam filling.”



The difference between the countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.

Later, the United States sent an invitation to the three countries to resume the talks, and it has been agreed on November 6, 2019, in Washington to conduct the four rounds of meetings in the presence of representatives from the United States and the World Bank. The first meeting was held on November 15-16 in Addis Ababa, while the second round was on December 2-3 in Cairo. The third round convened in Khartoum on December 22-23.


]]>
1/10/2020 7:44:54 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Putin urge reaching political settlement to Libyan crisis]]>
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi slammed foreign interference in Libya, apparently referring to the Turkish military intervention which has been rejected by many world leaders as well as the Libyan parliament, due to the foreign interference’s negative repercussions, including undermining the efforts that aim to achieve security and stability in the war-torn country, said presidential spokesman Bassam Radi.

For his part, President Vladimir Putin stressed Russia’s support to a comprehensive political solution in Libya.

Both presidents agreed, during the phone call, to intensify joint efforts to focus on reaching a settlement to the Libyan crisis through a comprehensive framework that backs efforts to combat terrorism and extremist groups and meets the aspiration of the Libyan people and respects their will.

Sisi and Putin also reviewed recent developments in the Gulf and affirmed the need for de-escalation, in order to ensure the safety and security of the region.

They also discussed issues related to bilateral relations and affirmed, in this regard, their willingness to develop cooperation between Egypt and Russia in various fields, especially trade, economy and energy.

Khalifa Haftar, chief of the Libyan National Army, on December 12th announced a “decisive” and “final battle” in Tripoli to “set it free” from armed militias. On January 6, 2020, the Libyan National Army forces seized the city of Sirte after attacking from five military axes to control several vital areas in the city such as Sirte port and Ghardabiya Airbase

In response to Haftar’s offensive, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to send Turkish troops to fight along with forces of the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA), Haftar’s rival.

Despite wide condemnation, the Turkish parliament, on January 2, voted on Erdogan’s bill to send troops to Libya after Erdogan and head of Libya’s presidential council Fayez al-Sarraj reached a deal in February 2019 on drawing maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea- one of the largest natural gas resources in the region- and on enhancing military cooperation.
The deal provoked anger in Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, which voiced their rejection of the deal as it contradicts with the international agreements.

On Wednesday, Haftar vowed to continue its offensive in the capital, Tripoli, against “terrorist” groups, apparently rejecting ceasefire calls by Russia and Turkey, Reuters reported.

In a statement, the army affirmed it was aware of the Russian calls aiming to seek “peace and stability” in the war-torn country, saying it welcomes them, but said they would not stop the army from fighting “terrorist groups” controlling Tripoli.

An unnamed advisor was later cited by AFP as saying that the LNA does not totally reject the ceasefire calls but said there were conditions that must be met.]]>
1/10/2020 5:53:58 PM
<![CDATA[Tebboune invites Sisi to visit Algeria]]>
Tebboune’s invitation came as a response to President Sisi’s invitation to his counterpart to visit Egypt in light of enhancing the bilateral relations between both countries, the statement added.

In his meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Algerian President affirmed that “Libyan blood will not be a price to protect foreign interests in these areas,” DPA added.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry headed to Algeria on Thursday to convey Sisi's message toTebboune regarding the escalation of Libyan turmoil when Turkey announced its military intervention in Libya to be a thorn in Egypt and other Mediterranean countries flesh.

During his meeting with his Algerian counterpart Sabri Boukadoum, Shoukry affirmed “the importance of avoiding further complication or escalation on the Libyan scene, via confronting foreign military intervention attempts,” according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday evening.

“He [Shoukry] called for the intensification of efforts aimed at pushing forward the path of comprehensive political settlement for all facets of the Libyan crisis, the support of the UN Envoy endeavors, and the completion of preparations for the Berlin political track,” the statement read.

In his speech at a press conference with Koukadoum, Shoukry announced that both countries have strong consensus on rejection of any foreign military presence in the Libyan territories, adding that they agreed on enhancing the political course in solving the Libyan crisis via reaching an inter-Libyan settlement.

Shoukry affirmed that Egypt and Algeria coordinate to attend the Berlin Conference on Libya, parsing the bilateral relations between both sides.

Coincidentally, Tebboune met with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio on Thursday, calling for immediate ceasefire between Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar and Sarraj’s forces, according to the Algerian Press Service.

Shoukry’s visit to Algeria came two days following Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's visit to Algeria and another visit by head of the Libyan Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj on Monday.

Algeria affirmed, in its meeting with Sarraj, that its stance is mainly based on the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs in accordance with the Algerian Constitution, State-owned Algeria Press reported Monday evening.

The situation has escalated in the region after Turkish President Recept Tayeb Erdogan and Sarraj signed controversial Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on drawing maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea- one of the largest natural gas resources in the region- and on enhancing military cooperation. The deals provoked anger in Egypt, Cyprus and Greece that voiced their rejection of the deal as it contradicts with the international agreements.

In a joint press conference held in Cairo for the foreign ministers of Egypt, Greece, France and Cyprus, it has been affirmed that the necessity to fully respect the sovereignty of all countries, including their sovereign rights in their water regions in the Mediterranean Sea. In this regard, they strongly condemned the continuous Turkish acts (drillings) in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and regional waters and called on Turkey to immediately halt illegal exploration activities.

In case you missed it..

Haftar avoids ceasefire call, vows to continue Tripoli offensive

CAIRO - 10 January 2020: The Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar on Thursday vowed to continue its offensive in the capital, Tripoli, against "terrorist" groups, apparently rejecting ceasefire calls by Russia and Turkey, Reuters reported.



]]>
1/10/2020 3:46:25 PM
<![CDATA[Abe to make 5-day trip to Mideast as Japan orders naval dispatch]]>
Seeking to help stabilize the region amid simmering tensions between Iran and the United States, Abe plans to go to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman for talks with their leaders, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.

The government had weighed the option of canceling the trip, but Abe decided to go ahead with it as U.S. President Donald Trump backed away from further military action against Iran, leading to an easing of tensions between the longtime foes.

Abe will "exchange views with (the leaders of) the three countries, which play important roles in easing tensions and stabilizing the situation in the region," Suga, the top government spokesman, said.

"He plans to seek cooperation on ensuring stable energy supplies and safe navigation," he said.]]>
1/10/2020 1:30:19 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia fail again to reach agreement on Renaissance dam]]>
During the two-day discussions, Egypt attempted to create a convergence of views via submitting a group of proposals and studies that guarantee for Ethiopia to generate electricity continuously and efficiently during periods of severe drought without causing harm to the Egyptian water share, the statement said. However, no agreement was reached between the three countries on the amounts of water that should flow from the dam in the different hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile river, where the dam is being built, the statement continued.

The Ethiopian side did not provide vivid measures that keep Egypt’s High Dam able to face various effects that could result from filling and operating the Renaissance dam’s reservoir, particularly in prolonged periods of droughts, the statement said.

Consequently, Egypt calls for the Renaissance dam should be a water facility that maintains the water system of the eastern Nile basin in order to let the water system face the harsh conditions that could result from the filling and operating the dam during the drought period or from climate change impacts, the statement added.

Due to this deadlock, it has been scheduled that the foreign and water ministers of the three countries will meet in the US Department of Treasury on January 13, 2020, in light of the outcomes of the Washington meeting that was held on November 6, 2019, the statement said.

When Ethiopia started building the $4-billion dam in May 2011, Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction. In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.

Later, the United States sent an invitation to the three countries to resume the talks, and it has been agreed on November 6, 2019, in Washington to conduct the four rounds of meetings in the presence of representatives from the United States and the World Bank. The first meeting was held on November 15-16 in Addis Ababa, while the second round was on December 2-3 in Cairo. The third round convened in Khartoum on December 22-23.]]>
1/10/2020 12:20:33 AM
<![CDATA[Iran’s attack on Ain Assad base was leaked to US: Iraqi Sources]]>
The statements published on Wednesday on condition of anonymity of the source, noted that the U.S. directed its soldiers upon receiving the leaked information to take shelter in their immune bunkers, as the aircrafts and helicopters headed out of the Iraqi to re-target the Iranian missiles before reaching the air base.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, However, said in statements that Iran informed them with the attack shortly before proceeding with it. Mahdi called on all parties to respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi State.

Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also affirmed in statements that they informed the US with the military operation through Switzerland.

On Tuesday, Iran launched missiles at U.S.-led forces in Iraq, retaliating for the U.S. drone strike on Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, whose killing last week stoked fears of a new Middle East war.

According to Reuters, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said the missile attack was a “slap on the face” of the United States and that U.S. troops should leave the region. He was addressing a gathering of Iranians who chanted “Death to America”.
]]>
1/9/2020 2:58:53 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, France, Cyprus, Greece reject Turkish abuses, escalation in Libya]]>
Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio also joined the meeting.

Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry, France’s Jean-Yves Le Drian, Greece’s Nikos Dendias, and Cyprus’s Nikos Christodoulides, agreed that the two memoranda of understanding signed by Turkey and Fayez al-Sarraj, chairman of the Libyan presidential council, constitute a violation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and international law, the statement read.

The ministers affirmed that the MoUs have further undermined regional stability and that they are both considered “null and void.”

L1
Foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Cyprus and Greece meet in Cairo to discuss regional developments – Press photo
The Turkish-Libyan maritime demarcation deal in the Mediterranean Sea violates the sovereign rights of the other nations, and does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot have any legal effect, the ministers agreed.

They also affirmed the necessity to fully respect the sovereignty of all countries, including their sovereign rights in their water regions in the Mediterranean Sea. In this regard, they strongly condemned the continuous Turkish acts (drillings) in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and regional waters and called on Turkey to immediately halt illegal exploration activities.

The ministers considered the security deal or any decision to send forces to Libya a serious violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2259 and other relevant Security Council resolutions, and a threat to regional security and stability. They called for an immediate de-escalation.

Shoukry, Le Drian, Dendias, and Christodoulides voiced their deep concerns concerning recent Turkish violation of international law in the Eastern Mediterranean and expected Turkey to act responsibly. They also affirmed the need for cooperation among Mediterranean countries with good intentions and in a constructive way to ensure the safety and stability of the region on the basis of international law.

A comprehensive political settlement is the only way to resolve the Libyan crisis and restore stability in Libya, the ministers agreed, according to the statement. They affirmed their full commitment to seek a political solution and their keenness to prevent escalation in the war-torn country. In this regard, they voiced support to the Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) in Libya, Ghassan Salame, the UN initiatives, and the Berlin process.

L3
Foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Cyprus and Greece meet in Cairo to discuss regional developments – Press photo
The ministers affirmed willingness of their countries to intensify bilateral cooperation, with the aim of achieving prosperity for their peoples. They also urged continuous coordination with regard to their stances and procedures aiming to achieve security and stability of their countries and the Eastern Mediterranean, including counter-terrorism efforts.

The ministers also agreed on the necessity to give priority to regional cooperation and comprehensive economic developments which is the aim of all countries of the region, in accordance with international law. Achieving development will contribute to reaching regional stability and prosperity, the ministers affirmed.

Finally, they agreed to continue coordination and to hold their next meeting in Greece’s largest island of Crete.]]>
1/9/2020 1:55:41 PM
<![CDATA[UN envoy welcomes int'l call for ceasefire in Libya]]>
Salame urged international and Libyan parties to respond positively to these calls and cease all military operations across Libya immediately to spare the country further bloodshed and provide relief to its people who are suffering the woes of this war.

The Special Representative encouraged the international community, especially countries concerned with the Libyan crisis, to seize the current momentum and push the Berlin Process forward in order to reach an international consensus.

The success of the Berlin Process will secure an international umbrella to provide support and protection for the three-track intra-Libyan process, launched by UNSMIL and aimed at addressing the Libyan crisis in all its aspects, economic and financial, military and security, and political, he added.]]>
1/9/2020 1:21:13 PM
<![CDATA[Pelosi says House to vote Thursday on limiting Trump's war powers on Iran]]>
The announcement comes less than a day after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing U.S. forces in response to the U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani last week. Iran's retaliation had created some uncertainty among House Democrats earlier Wednesday about the path forward on the resolution.

"Last week, the Trump administration conducted a provocative and disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian military officials," Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday.

"The administration took this action without consulting Congress," she added. "This action endangered our service members, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran. Since then, the president has made clear that he does not have a coherent strategy to keep the American people safe, achieve deescalation with Iran and ensure stability in the region."

Members of Congress were briefed Wednesday by top Trump administration officials, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the justification for the airstrike that killed Soleimani, the leader of Iran's elite and secretive Quds Force.]]>
1/9/2020 1:14:01 PM
<![CDATA[China’s FM, Sisi discuss regional issues, further cooperation]]>
The minister affirmed his country’s willingness for further cooperation, especially in light of Egypt’s strategic importance to the Middle East and Africa, and the economic development it witnesses under President Sisi, said presidential spokesman Bassam Radi.

He said he was keen to make Cairo his first stop during his current tour to Africa and the region.

Wang Yi affirmed that Egypt is considered a promising market for Chinese companies for investment, saying that China, therefore, reviews ways to boost trade exchange between the two countries.

President Sisi, for his part, referred to the integration of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative with Egypt's development efforts, especially those related to the Suez Canal axis development project, as well as the development of the country's infrastructure, including ports and roads.

The Belt and Road Initiative was launched by the Chinese government to enhance trade, investments, and infrastructure in more than 150 countries in Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The initiative is a revival to what was known as “The Silk Road.”

Sisi also expressed the aspiration to boost Chinese tourism flow to Egypt, and encourage Chinese companies to maximize their investments in Egypt, in light of the Egyptian state’s support to Chinese companies.

During the meeting attended also by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the two sides discussed developments in the Middle East, especially in light of the challenges facing the region.

The Chinese official, according to the presidential spokesman, hailed the pioneering Egyptian role in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region, especially through combating terrorism and extremism, and making efforts to achieve a political settlement for various crises.

They also reviewed developments in the Gulf and emphasized the importance of continued mutual coordination to achieve de-escalation and maintain security and safety of the Gulf.

With regard to the Libyan issue, Sisi stressed Egypt's support for the unity and stability of Libya, affirming the importance of working to resolve the current Libyan internal crisis, and put an end to the illegal international interference in its affairs.

In this regard, the two sides agreed that the recent escalation in Libya, concerning sending Turkish troops to Libya, endangers security and peace of the entire region.]]>
1/9/2020 11:05:23 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi receives message from Jordan's King for further coordination]]>
Meeting with Sisi in Cairo on Wednesday, Al-Khasawneh handed the message that stressed keenness to continue intensive consultation with Egypt on various issues and to develop bilateral relations, in light of the special and strong ties between the two countries on all levels, and the importance of the Egyptian role in confronting mutual challenges facing the Arab nations.

The meeting discussed the latest regional developments, especially as the Gulf region and Libya have witnessed important incidents. The two sides agreed on the need to continue coordination to achieve de-escalation in the region, in order to ensure the security and safety of the Gulf.

They reviewed bilateral relations during the meeting, where they highlighted the importance of enhancing economic ties and increase trade exchange in a way that suits the level of political relations between the two countries.

In November, on the sidelines of the extraordinary session of the League of Arab State’s Council at the ministerial level in Cairo, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi.

The meeting tackled the bilateral relations and the regional and international issues of mutual concern, said Egyptian ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement.

Both minsters tackled the latest development of the Palestinian issue, particularly following the US decision of legalizing the Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, Hafez added.

“Shoukry affirmed in this regard Egypt’s stance of abiding by international resolutions and international law in connection with the status of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank,” Hafez said.]]>
1/8/2020 11:41:36 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, France’s FM agree on nead to reach settlement in Libya]]>
The two sides agreed on the need for a comprehensive political settlement in Libya, which would back state institutions and national army against terrorism and armed militias, in an effort to achieve security and stability, meet the aspiration of the Libyan people, and curb foreign interference in the war-torn country.

During the meeting, Sisi and Le Drian discussed some regional issues of mutual concern. They reviewed recent developments in the Gulf, and agreed on the need to continue coordination in an effort to achieve security of the Gulf.

Le Drian conveyed the greetings of French President Emmanuel Macron to Sisi.

The French minister affirmed his country's appreciation for the close and special relations with Egypt, considering the African country one of the pillars of stability in the Middle East region. He stressed keenness to support bilateral relations, in a manner that ensures strengthening of the existing partnership.

Late in December, Sisi affirmed the need to curb illegitimate foreign intervention in Libya, in a phone call with Macron, according to Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Radi.

Sisi highlighted Egypt’s unchangeable stance that seeks restoring security and stability in Libya, backing counter-terrorism efforts and thwart the activities of armed militias.

Macron, during the phone call, stressed France’s endeavor to find a political solution in Libya. Both leaders agreed to intensify joint efforts, in cooperation with international partners, in an effort to resolve the aggravated situation in the war-torn country.

Sisi and Macron also agreed to continue boosting bilateral relations between Egypt and France.]]>
1/8/2020 8:51:47 PM
<![CDATA[EU: Recent developments in Iran, Iraq, whole region are 'extremely worrying']]>
In a press conference, EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell described recent developments in Iran, Iraq and the region as a whole as “extremely worrying.”

Borrell warned that an escalation in violence could jeopardise the work of the "Anti-Daesh Coalition,"

"The latest rocket attacks on airbases in Iraq used by the US and Coalition forces, among them European forces, are yet another example of escalation and increased confrontation," he said.

The current situation puts at risk the efforts of the past years and also has implications for the important work of the Anti-Daesh Coalition.”

]]>
1/8/2020 3:32:08 PM
<![CDATA[Cabinet approves amending law on lists of terrorist entities]]>
The new amendments are aimed at having a wider legal framework identifying terrorist entities and persons for enhancing the effectiveness of measures for fighting terrorism in a way that meets the international criteria and achieves the national interests in fighting terrorism and drying up sources of terrorist funding.

The amendments include a wider definition of funds mentioned in the law so that it would include all financial assets and economic sources such as oil and property along with local and foreign currencies and securities.

As for terrorist persons, the new amendments include placing them on travel ban lists and preventing any suspected foreigner from entering the country along with cancelling his/her passport and banning issuing a new passport for them.

The new amendments include freezing all funds and other assets owned by terrorist entities and their members.]]>
1/8/2020 2:49:43 PM
<![CDATA[Iran’s retaliatory operations would extend to KSA, Dubai: Expert]]>
Although the Tuesday missile attack launched by Iran on US bases in Iraq did not result in any American losses, some experts found it an indication of a comprehensive war that would extend to other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia.

Samir Gharib, the head of the Arab Institution for Security and Strategic Studies, said that the Iranian-American current would take a “special line,” expecting that Iran will hit precise US targets “clearly and directly.”

Gharib also expected that the escalation by Iran could include the assassination of US figures whether on US or foreign soils.

According to Gharib, the Iranian response will not be easy, “because the killing of Qasem Soleimani was not a simple incident; he is deemed a legendary figure in Iran,” ensuring that “the response will be from Iran and not through proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon or Syria.”

Regarding the expected Iranian retaliatory operations in the future, Gharib said that Iran would use its proxies to target the infrastructure of large countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Emirati city of Dubai. He further expected that Iran would support the Houthis with advanced weapons to achieve its targets.

On Tuesday, Iran fired more than a dozen of ballistic missiles against two US airbases in Iraq, where the US and coalition forces are based. The missiles were reportedly launched from Iran.

There were no immediate reports of casualties at the bases.
]]>
1/8/2020 1:57:52 PM
<![CDATA[Iran warns US against any response, saying Israel is part of US regime]]>
“We warn the Great Satan, the bloodthirsty and arrogant regime of the US, that any new wicked act or more moves and aggressions (against Iran) will bring about more painful and crushing responses,” the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said in a statement on Wednesday, after its forces targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province, western Iraq, and then launched a second wave of attacks.

“The brave soldiers of the IRGC Aerospace Force in a successful operation in the name of martyr Gen. Qassem Soleimani … launched tens of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles” on the Ain Al Assad base occupied by the “terrorist and aggressive US army,” Tasnim news agency quoted a statement issued by IRGC as having said.

“We are warning all US allies who gave their bases to its terrorist army that any territory that in any way becomes the starting point of hostile and aggressive acts against the Islamic Republic of Iran will be targeted,” the statement added.

“We in no way consider the Zionist regime (of Israel) to be separated from the criminal US regime in these crimes,” it said.

The IRGC further urged the American people to call for the return of US forces from the region in order to prevent further losses and not to allow the Washington government to put the lives of American troops at risk any more.]]>
1/8/2020 12:28:28 PM
<![CDATA[Iran says missile attacks on U.S. targets were 'legitimate self-defense': TV]]>
“Our action was a legitimate self-defense and the United States should avoid assessing it based on illusions,” Zarif said.

Iran launched missile attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq in the early hours of Wednesday in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s commander of Quds Force Qassem Soleimani.]]>
1/8/2020 12:13:49 PM
<![CDATA[Germany rejects Tehran attack as 'escalation']]>
"The German government strongly condemns this aggression... it is now primarily up to the Iranians to refrain from further escalation," the German minister told broadcaster ARD.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said the attacks were a "slap in the face"

"Last night, a slap in the face was delivered," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

His remarks came after he had vowed "severe revenge" for a US drone strike that killed one of Iran's top military commanders near Baghdad international airport last week.]]>
1/8/2020 11:07:48 AM
<![CDATA[MP demands int’l community to support Libyan Parliament’s decisions]]>
In his statement, Abdel Aziz called for rejecting the fight that leads the region and the whole world into a comprehensive war, and the guardianship concept that some regional countries claim on the Arab World, taking it as an excuse to violate its sovereignty.

MP Abdel Aziz urged all Libyan brothers not to seek support from abroad, “because this destroys the future of Libya, and causes fragmentation of its territorial integrity, besides tearing the brotherly bonds among its people.”

Abdel Aziz also called on the international community to support and implement the historical decisions issued by the emergency session held by the Libyan Parliament.
The Libyan Parliament held Saturday an emergency session, in which it voted on a bundle of decisions, including the rejection of the MoUs inked between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey.

According to the official spokesperson for the Libyan Parliament Abdullah Belihaq, the parliament voted unanimously on authorizing the General Commander of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar to disable airports, ports, and land gates that are controlled by the militias.

The House of Representatives approved the allocation of an emergency budget for the armed forces worth 20 billion Libyan dinars ($14.3M), to be deducted from the state budget of the year 2020.

Belhiq added that the Libyan Parliament also unanimously voted to cut relations with Turkey, and close the embassies between both countries.

The parliament further agreed, during its voting session, to address international organizations such as the UN Security Council, the League of Arab States, the African Union, the European Union and other international organizations to withdraw the recognition of the GNA, which is led by Fayez el-Sarraj.

The Libyan Parliament decided to refer all signatories of the GNA-Turkey MoUs on military and maritime jurisdictions to Libya’s top prosecutor, accusing them of high treason. The parliament justified the charge drawn against the signatories, including Sarraj, saying they agreed to bring foreign occupation represented in Turkish troops to the Libyan soil.
]]>
1/7/2020 4:18:16 PM
<![CDATA[Japan to do utmost to have Ghosn return for trial: ministry official]]>
“We are screening in detail Lebanon’s domestic laws and ...we will do whatever we can to win his return,” the official said.

The former Nissan Motor and Renault chairman, who was free on bail awaiting trial on charges of financial misconduct, fled to his childhood home of Lebanon last month.

The possibility of persuading Lebanon to hand over Ghosn is low, however, the Japanese official said, because Lebanon like many other countries does not extradite its own citizens.

Ghosn, he added, may face additional charges for violating Japan’s immigration laws by fleeing Japan, while police and prosecutors may pursue anyone who aided his escape.

On Tuesday, Tokyo prosecutors issued a warrant for the arrest of Carol Ghosn, his wife, Japanese broadcaster TBS reported.

The former auto executive is due to speak to the media in Lebanon on Wednesday. He is expected to detail some of the claims he has made against Nissan since his arrest in November 2018 in which he has alleged that there was a Japanese government-backed coup to oust him.]]>
1/7/2020 12:06:21 PM
<![CDATA[Germany to cut troop numbers in Iraq after Soleimani killing]]>
Slovakia meanwhile said it had temporarily relocated its seven soldiers from Iraq, who are part of a NATO training mission, as tensions in the region rise.

About 30 of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq who mainly train Iraqi security forces will be redeployed to Jordan and Kuwait, the German government told parliament in a letter on Monday.

Iraq’s parliament called on Sunday for the United States and other foreign troops to leave after Iran’s most prominent general, Qassem Soleimani, was killed on Friday in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at a Baghdad airport.

The drawdown of German troops was ordered by the U.S.-led joint command for fighting Islamic State, the German government said. This would apply mainly to troops in Baghdad and Taji, a city just north of the Iraqi capital where close to 30 German troops are deployed.

Out of the 120 German soldiers, about 90 are stationed in the Kurdish area in the north of the country.

The German government said the forces could be moved back to Iraq if their training mission resumes.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told public broadcaster ZDF he was concerned about a possible resurgence of Islamic State should foreign troops leave Iraq quickly. “Nobody really wants that,” he said.

Slovakia said it had removed its seven soldiers from Iraq temporarily.

“In view of the current situation in Iraq, which has led to the suspension of activities of the NATO training mission, the temporary relocation of seven Slovak soldiers outside the country was carried out in accordance with security rules,” Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said in a statement.

“Further steps will be taken after consultation with allies.”]]>
1/7/2020 12:05:01 PM
<![CDATA[Pompeo, Saudi senior official discuss Iran amid regional tensions]]>
The US State Department said in a statement that Pompeo discussed with the Saudi deputy defense minister the killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), on Friday in Baghdad.

"The Secretary underscored that the United States does not seek war with Iran and remains committed to de-escalation, " the statement said.

The death of Soleimani has sparked outrage and revenge threats from Tehran, raising fear of an uncontrolled escalation in the region.]]>
1/7/2020 11:28:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt signs Charter of Arab, African States bordering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden ]]>
This came in a meeting held for the foreign ministers of Arab and African countries.

“We are in an urgent need to reinforce our troops to face the challenges and risks that surround us,” Al Ain newspaper quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud during the meeting.



"On the sidelines of the meeting, Shoukry held a bilateral meeting with his Saudi counterpart, where they discussed bilateral relations and recent developments of regional and international issues," said Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement on his official Twitter account.



The council includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Jordan.

Following signing the charter, Saudi Monarch King Salman Bin Abdelazizi congratulated the state members on signing the new charter.



The United Arab Emirates welcomed the formation of thec, saying in a statement that the new council will enhance stability, cooperation, and coordination between the seven Arab and African countries bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

“The ministry expressed its appreciation of Saudi Arabia's diplomatic efforts, adding that the Kingdom played a pivotal role in the formation of the Council of Arab and African States Bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden," the UAE Foreign Ministry added in the statement.]]>
1/7/2020 11:21:51 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. Embassy in Libya condemns 'toxic foreign interference' in Libya]]>
In a Sunday statement, the embassy said that they condemn recent attacks against Tripoli’s Matiga Airport and the indiscriminate shelling against civilian infrastructure and residential neighborhoods of Tripoli, which killed and injured many civilians.

“This deterioration in security underscores the dangers of toxic foreign interference in Libya, such as the arrival of Syrian fighters supported by Turkey as well as the deployment of Russian mercenaries,” the embassy stated.

The statement explained that all Libyan parties “have a responsibility to end this dangerous involvement of foreign forces, which is contributing to civilian casualties and damaging civilian infrastructure to the detriment of all Libyans.”

“The U.S. Embassy stands ready to support all Libyan efforts to end the violence, curtail the interference of foreign forces, and reestablish a UN-facilitated political dialogue, which is the only path to lasting peace and prosperity,” the statement concluded.

Egypt’s Observatory for Monitoring Takfiri Fatwas and Extremist Ideologies at Dar al-Ifta said on Sunday, "Turkey’s interference in the region creates a fertile environment for extremists and terrorist groups."

“The Turkish ambitions in the Arab states and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s attempts to control Syria and Libya create a fertile environment for the terrorist trends and organizations,” the statement read.

The observatory added that such ambitions increase chaos and incite violence in war-stricken countries, noting that Turkey’s intervention in Libya, which represents a blatant violation against the international laws and resolutions, will turn the country into another Syria.

"The unlawful and controversial Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between Turkey and Head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj result in dire consequences in the whole region," said the observatory, calling upon the international community to fully support the Libyan Parliament, which stands against the signed deals.

On January 2, 2020, the Turkish Parliament voted for Erdogan’s proposal to send Turkish troops to Libya after signing the deals in February 2019 on drawing maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea- one of the largest natural gas resources in the region- and on enhancing military cooperation.

The deals provoked anger in Egypt, Cyprus and Greece that voiced their rejection of the deal as it contradicts with the international agreements. “Egypt affirms that such memoranda possess no legal effect, as they cannot be recognized in light of the fact that Article 8 of the Sukhirat Political Agreement on Libya, widely accepted by Libyans, defines the competences conferred to the Council of Ministers, expressly stipulating that the Council of Ministers as an entity – and not the president of the council alone – has the power to conclude international agreements,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry earlier said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Libyan Parliament held Saturday an emergency session, in which it voted on a bundle of decisions, including the rejection of the deals inked between the GNA and Turkey.

The parliament voted unanimously on authorizing General Commander of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar to disable airports, ports, and land gates that are controlled by the militias.

The parliament further agreed to address the UN Security Council, the League of Arab States, the African Union, the European Union and other international organizations to withdraw the recognition of the GNA.]]>
1/7/2020 11:16:22 AM
<![CDATA['Parties are meaningless': Leaked audio reveals Muslim Brotherhood's ambition in Sudan]]>
"I think we should come out.. there is a compelling logic now. Because the old organization, name and shape carry the weight of so many misdeeds, an injustice inflicted on us by our rivals and enemies, we [need to] try to give it a new name. If we gave it a new name, large numbers of people will join us," Ibrahim says in the audio of the Saudi channel.

"When we launched the Islamic Charter Front, huge numbers joined us. In every stage, there is always an atmosphere that allows large numbers to join this entity. There is a very strong logic. Given the local, regional and international challenge, our country, Sudan, needs strong bodies that can carry Sudan and jump with it big leaps forward," he adds.

The Islamic Charter Front was formed in the 1960s in Sudan as an Islamist student group headed by Hassan al-Turabi, which later evolved to the National Islamic Front, which has strong links to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

"That is the logic that makes parties meaningless. When we pose this idea to the public, people will accept it. These parties cannot face the challenged faced by Sudan. Rightly, we have survived some of them, but the path ahead is thorny," Ibrahim continues.

Longtime Sudanese ruler Bashir was ousted by the military following mass demonstrations against him in April 2019. A sovereign council formed of military generals and civilian politicians will be in power until elections are held in 2022.



]]>
1/6/2020 5:27:10 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Saudi Arabia condemn Turkish interference in Libya]]>
As they met on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the African and Arab States bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, discussed growing tensions in the war-torn country, especially in light of Turkey’s parliament’s approval for the dispatch of Turkish troops to Libya, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said.

They also reviewed the situation in Iraq, as well as Iranian and Turkish interference in the region. In this regard, they discussed threats facing the Arab countries in the Gulf and agreed on the need to prevent these regional developments from affecting the security and stability of the Gulf.

The two ministers exchanged visions regarding a number of other issues and current crises, and the way to coordinate to work on achieving security and stability in the region.

They highlighted the depth of strategic relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia and reviewed ways to foster various cooperation fields during the next period.

On January 2, 2020, the Turkish Parliament voted on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bill to send Turkish troops to Libya after Erdogan and Head of the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj reached a deal in February 2019 on drawing maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea- one of the largest natural gas resources in the region- and on enhancing military cooperation.

The deal provoked anger in Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, which voiced their rejection of the deal as it contradicts with the international agreements.

“Egypt affirms that such memoranda possess no legal effect, as they cannot be recognized in light of the fact that Article 8 of the Skhirat Political Agreement on Libya, widely accepted by Libyans, defines the competences conferred to the Council of Ministers, expressly stipulating that the Council of Ministers as an entity – and not the president of the council alone – has the power to conclude international agreements,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry earlier said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Libyan Parliament held Saturday an emergency session, in which it voted on a bundle of decisions, including the rejection of the deals inked between the GNA and Turkey.

The parliament voted unanimously on authorizing the General Commander of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar to disable airports, ports, and land gates that are controlled by the militias.

The parliament further agreed to address the UN Security Council, the League of Arab States, the African Union, the European Union and other international organizations to withdraw the recognition of the GNA.]]>
1/6/2020 4:07:29 PM