<![CDATA[rss-Politics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Politics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[With PM Johnson ill, coronavirus strikes at heart of British politics]]>
It isn’t a huge surprise.

There can be no way to know if they infected each other or caught the illness from another person, or different people. But the three men had met a handful of times in person over the previous 10 days, according to Johnson’s official diary, to formulate Britain’s response to the outbreak.

On Tuesday of last week, when most ministers video-conferenced into a cabinet meeting, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and chief medical officer Chris Whitty sat in the room with Johnson.

Whitty had also stood alongside the prime minister at three of the 11 news conferences on the coronavirus since March 16.

Now the question on the lips of many at Downing Street and beyond is: how many other people did the UK prime minister come into contact with before testing positive?

Asked about whether those who became ill believed they had done so from meeting Johnson, a government source noted that scientists say it takes around five days from transmission to developing symptoms so people who became ill at the same time “almost certainly” did not give it to one another.

Johnson is the first world leader to announce he is sick with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. But other administrations have faced similar questions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and U.S. President Donald Trump say they have tested negative for coronavirus, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went into self-isolation earlier this month after his wife tested positive.

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, has tested positive, as have several members of the U.S. Congress.

For politicians, who can meet hundreds of people every day, the coronavirus crisis requires a balance between being seen to lead their people while also keeping a safe distance.

Johnson’s spokesman, asked repeatedly about the prime minister’s contacts with other people, told reporters on Friday the prime minister had not been in close proximity with anyone “from the moment he had symptoms”.

According to Johnson’s statement, that would mean Thursday of last week. And according to his public agenda, Johnson had scaled back in-person meetings, in accordance with the UK’s wider lockdown rules, from Monday March 23.

FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS

Yet scientists say the virus’ incubation period is estimated at between one and 14 days, and there have been anecdotal accounts of people spreading the disease without having symptoms.

And despite the scaling back, Johnson still met Whitty in person or via videolink at least eight times in the last two weeks and Hancock around nine, according to his diary, to plot Britain’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Meetings were also held with other staff, according to two sources close to the prime minister. One Downing Street source said that 75 of the 200 staff who usually work at Number 10 — an approximately 100-room town house -– are still working there in separate rather than overlapping shifts to reduce the risk of infection.

Johnson also had regular in-person news conferences with journalists at Downing Street until March 24, when he switched to ones where the journalists attended by video link. Some journalists who attended the in-person conferences have said via social media or have told colleagues that they are now self-isolating.

“Here in Number 10 we have been observing the advice ... we have wherever possible been using video conferencing, you’ll have seen the prime minister ensuring he is a safe distance from colleagues when he is taking part in press conferences,” Johnson’s spokesman said on Friday.

The prime minister also ventured beyond Downing Street last week. On Wednesday, a day before his positive test, Johnson answered questions at a weekly session in parliament’s House of Commons chamber.

In the live video, Johnson is seen speaking with several lawmakers. Minister for Scotland Alister Jack, who sat next to Johnson before the session, said on Saturday he had developed a temperature and a cough and was now working from home in isolation.

Asked whether Jack believed suggestions he may have become ill in parliament that day, the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland declined to comment, saying it had nothing to add to Saturday’s statement.

DISTANCING
At first, Britain’s response to the spread of the virus was not as stringent as in other countries. It was only at the beginning of the week from March 16 that the UK position began changing – and Johnson’s rhythm too.

In addition to more video-conferences, audiences with Queen Elizabeth — usually held weekly – have been held by telephone for the last two weeks, according to Johnson’s spokesman.

Schools across the UK were closed from March 20, and the prime minister announced three days later that all shops – except for the most essential ones – would be closed.

On Friday, just five hours after Johnson said he had tested positive for coronavirus, Whitty wrote on Twitter that “after experiencing symptoms compatible with COVID-19 last night ... I will be self-isolating at home for the next seven days”. He said he would continue to advise the government.

The same day, Hancock said he had also tested positive and was self-isolating at home with mild symptoms. He has since been active on Twitter, but has not commented on his condition.

The health ministry said on Sunday it could offer no update on the conditions of Hancock or Whitty.

Apart from Hancock and Whitty, the other person who has spent the most time working on the British government’s response is the government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance.

Whitty, Johnson and Vallance were seen so often at news conferences together in the second and third weeks of March that they were called the “three amigos” in reference to a 1986 comedy with Steve Martin.

After Johnson made his announcement, Vallance tweeted that he had no symptoms. Vallance could not be reached for comment.

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3/29/2020 12:29:00 PM
<![CDATA[Russia weighs nationwide coronavirus lockdown after Moscow acts]]>
Russia’s official nationwide tally of coronavirus cases rose by 302 on Monday, taking the total to 1,836. Nine people across Russia have died, the authorities say.

Authorities in Moscow have ordered residents to stay at home from Monday, their toughest move yet to slow the spread of the virus after the number of official cases in the Russian capital passed the 1,000 mark.

Mishustin said he thought the measures now needed to be rolled out nationwide.

“I ask the leaders of (Russia’s regions) to pay attention to (Moscow’s) experience and to work out the possibility of introducing such measures in their regions,” he said.

Some regions, like Russia’s Arctic region of Murmansk, which shares a border with Finland and Norway, have already acted, while most others in the world’s largest country by territory have yet to do so.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said 20% of residents were ignoring his order to self-isolate, but that he hoped an IT system would be operational by the end of the week that would allow authorities to control the movement of people.

Muscovites are only allowed to go out to buy food or medicines at their nearest shop, get urgent medical treatment, walk the dog, or take out the bins, under the new rules.

“This may now seem to some of you like some kind of game, a kind of Hollywood thriller. This is no game...,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Security Council, said in a video address.

“Unfortunately, what is happening now is a real threat to all of us and to all of human civilization,” said Medvedev, who was prime minister until earlier this year.

Russia has so far got off more lightly than many European countries, but some doctors have voiced scepticism about the accuracy of its figures given what they say has been the patchy nature and quality of testing, allegations that the authorities deny.

According to a survey by the Levada Center, only 16% of Russians fully trust official information about the coronavirus, while 24% said they did not trust it at all.]]>
3/29/2020 12:27:00 PM
<![CDATA[Combat persists in Syria’s Idlib in less than 1 month of truce]]>
As reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the shelling targeted the towns of al-Bara, Sfohen, and Kafr Aweed in Jabal al-Zawiyah in the southern countryside of Idlib.

SOHR indicated that militants struck a building of the Syrian Armed Forces in Kafr al-Batikh killing two soldiers and injuring others on March 27. Also, a soldier was killed by a sniper in Atarib southern Aleppo.

The Syrian Arab Army is bringing reinforcements in Saraqeb, other areas eastern Idlib and near the administrative borders with Aleppo. Iran-backed militias have been deploying near Saraqeb city in the eastern countryside of Idlib, the vicinity of Kafr Nubl city in the southern countryside of the governorate and other positions in Jabal Al-Zawiyah.

On March 24, the Russian Ministry of Defense declared that two Turkish armored vehicles were targeted by militants in Idlib’s de-escalation zone, and that two Turkish soldiers were injured. The militants planted two explosives on the road where a Turkish convoy was passing near Safohene village.

The attack was executed by militants who are not affiliated to Turkey. Those launched seven strikes the day before.

On March 19, the Turkish Ministry of Defense declared that two of its soldiers were killed in Syria without revealing details. However, SOHR unveiled on the same day that the vehicles carrying them were targeted by explosives on the M4 highway connecting Aleppo and Latakia passing through Idlib.

The incident constitutes the first human loss for Turkey since the March 6 truce between its troops and militants on one hand and the Syrian Arab Army on the other hand has gone into effect.

Uncertainty over number of casualties in Idlib's engagements

CAIRO - 29 February 2020: Turkish opposition platforms reported according to military sources that the number of soldiers killed in Syria's Idlib since February 27 recorded 200 while that of the injured is 70-80.




On the other hand, Turkey started last week establishing three new checkpoints to the west of Jisr al-Shughur city in Idlib adding up to 12 existing ones. The new ones are located in the villages of Badama, Najiya, and Al Zainiyah.

For the second time since joint patrols started on March 15, Russia and Turkey had to shrink the patrolled areas due to security fears. Turkey was supposed to patrol six kilometers northern the road, while Russia was due to patrol six meters southern the road.

Militants force Turkey, Russia to shrink patrolled area on day 1

CAIRO - 17 March 2020: Hundreds of Turkey-backed militants blocked sections of the M4 highway connecting Aleppo with Latakia, pushing Turkey and Russia to shrink the area of their joint patrols that started on March 15 since the first day.



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3/28/2020 6:02:44 PM
<![CDATA[Public prosecution: COVID-19 rumor-mongers may be jailed for 5 yrs, fined EGP 20K]]>
In a press statement, the prosecution said that legal action will be taken in conformity with articles no. (80), (102) and (188) of the criminal law.

The prosecution further added that the punishment aims at standing up to rumor-mongers, who seek to disturb public order and stir up panic among citizens.

The prosecution called on citizens to verify the authenticity of news published on social media platforms.]]>
3/28/2020 3:36:24 PM
<![CDATA[Dozens of Syrian mercenaries in Libya killed in 1 week]]>
The breakdown indicated by the LNA is 71 from the Second Corps, and 32 from the Third Corps. Mercenaries affiliated to the Second Corps are 35 from the Sultan Murad Brigade, nine from Al-Moatasim Division, 27 from Al-Hamzat Brigade including leader Abou Hassan al-Hamzawy.

Mercenaries affiliated to the Third Corp are eight from Al Nusra Front, 13 from Afrin-based Al Majd Corps, and 1 from the North Hawks Brigade.

SOHR reported Wednesday that eight Turkey-backed militants - fighting in the ranks of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) - were killed in clashes with the Libyan National Army (LNA) so that the total figure becomes 151 since the beginning of this year.

The observatory had reported earlier this month that the number of fatalities among Syrian mercenaries in Libya recorded 117.

The clashes took place in Salah El Din district south of Tripoli, Al Ramla near Tripoli airport, Al Hadba neighborhood, Misrata outskirts, and others. The LNA also captured a Syrian militant.

The militants killed belonged to Aleppo-based Al-Moatasim Division, Sultan Murad Brigade, and Al-Hamzat Brigade, Raqqah-based North Hawks Brigade, and Suleiman Shah Brigade operating in Aleppo and Latakia.

SOHR revealed that the bodies of some of those were repatriated to Syria and buried in the areas controlled by armed groups in Aleppo countryside’s Deraa Al Forat district.


The GNA militias launched on Wednesday a failed attack against Oqba Ibn Nafea Airbase in Watiya District western Tripoli calling the operation the Peace Storm, as declared by the LNA Spokesperson Ahmed al-Mesmary. Engagements took place 12 kilometers away from the airbase and the LNA jets struck militias’ locations.

4 Turkish soldiers, chief Syrian mercenary killed in Libya

CAIRO - 23 March 2020: Commander of the Libyan Western Military Zone Mabrouk al-Ghazwy said in a video-taped speech on Sunday that four Turkish soldiers and a Syrian militant commander were killed in the latest clashes southern Tripoli. Those were fighting in the ranks of the militias of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the Libyan capital.




SOHR had reported that the number of Syrian militants who arrived in “Tripoli” until this month had recorded nearly 4,750 while around 1,900 others were receiving training in Turkey. SOHR also revealed that nearly 150 of such mercenaries left Libya for Europe.

The recruitment pool is Afrin, areas under the control of “Euphrates Shield” factions and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES). Turkey had targeted recruiting 6,000 mercenaries, and was able to attract more than that number. Yet, recruitment is still ongoing.

Turkey has been backing Tripoli militias after it had signed in December two MoUs with the GNA - which is an interim non-elected UN-recognized government - to achieve cooperation in the sectors of defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.
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3/28/2020 1:58:07 PM
<![CDATA[Israeli forces fire at Palestinian farmers in Khan Younis]]>
Moreover, the occupation forces forced them to leave the area, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The soldiers stationed behind the border fence east of Khan Younis opened fire at herders east of Abasan town and at farmers east of al-Qarara town.

No injuries were reported.

Soldiers regularly open fire at people near the border fence, including farmers attending to their land, in order to keep them as far from the border as possible. ]]>
3/28/2020 1:34:27 PM
<![CDATA[President of Libyan National Forces Alliance quarantined in Egypt]]>
Jibril’s health is unstable and he is quarantined in a hospital in Cairo as his condition did not allow him to be transported to the isolation hospital in Marsa Matrouh, the official added.

Egypt’s Health Ministry announced Thursday that 39 new cases have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of infections in Egypt to 495.

The Egyptian government has taken gradual steps in dealing with the coronavirus spread, starting from banning the study at schools and universities and suspending the international flights to mid-April. A partial curfew was imposed, while all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, night clubs, bars, shopping centers (malls), and other local shops shut down completely until March 14, 2020.

Meanwhile, all mosques and Islamic places of worship across Egypt were closed for two weeks starting from March 21, 2020, to curb the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this, the international aviation movement has been suspended for more two weeks until mid-April.

The virus was announced as a pandemic by WHO on March 10, 2020. As yet, the global infected cases of the virus reached 552,589 people and 25,042 deaths were reported, while the recovered cases rose to 128,704.
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3/27/2020 3:39:55 PM
<![CDATA[Trump, Xi speak after US, China trade barbs on coronavirus]]>
In a tweet, the US president described his first interaction with his Chinese counterpart since the outbreak began three months ago as "very good".

"China has been through much [and] has developed a strong understanding of the Virus," Trump added. "We are working closely together. Much respect!"

Chinese state media said that Xi had spoken with Trump "at the invitation of the US side", and offered to "unreservedly share [China’s] experience in prevention and control efforts, and treatment with the World Health Organization and countries including the US".

Over recent days, Trump has stopped referring to the coronavirus as "the Chinese virus", which had angered officials in Beijing and triggered domestic criticism that he was stoking anti-Asian sentiment as the virus spread rapidly across the US.

US officials countered that the designation was fair in light of some Chinese diplomats’ endorsement of unproven conspiracy theories blaming the US military for the outbreak, which began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December or November.

However, other senior Trump administration officials were continuing to insist that the virus should be referred to as "the Wuhan coronavirus".

The war of words threatened to impede any prospects of meaningful co-operation between the US and China as the pandemic continued to spread rapidly around the world. It also coincided with a charm offensive by Beijing heralding its dispatch of medical supplies and teams to European nations struggling to contain the pandemic.

Trump and Xi spoke just hours after the number of officially confirmed cases in the US exceeded those in China. The Chinese foreign ministry also announced late on Thursday that it would ban almost all foreign nationals from entering the country even if they held valid work and residential permits.

While the number of locally transmitted cases in China has dwindled over recent weeks, the government has been alarmed by a spike in so-called imported cases from people arriving in the world’s most populous nation. Most of the carriers, however, have been Chinese nationals.

China’s aviation regulator also said on Thursday that it would restrict all international airlines still operating flights to and from China to just one weekly service, in a move that will make it even more difficult for expatriate Chinese to return home.

The US has recorded 85,505 coronavirus cases with 1,288 deaths, compared with 81,340 and 3,292 respectively in China. But China’s official case numbers, unlike most other countries’, do not include "asymptomatic" carriers who do not exhibit any symptoms. If such cases were included, it is estimated that China’s official count could be as much as 50 percent higher

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3/27/2020 1:50:22 PM
<![CDATA[World depends on G20 to face coronavirus: King Salman]]>
In his word during a virtual G20 meeting, King Salman said that the world depends on the G20 to face the virus.

"As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges to healthcare systems and the global economy, we convene this extraordinary G20 summit to unite efforts towards a global response, he said on Twitter. ]]>
3/26/2020 4:29:49 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry, foreign ministers assistants discuss developments to combat coronavirus]]>
According to a statement issued by the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Hafez, Shoukry was briefed on the efforts exerted by the Egyptian missions abroad in this regard, especially concerning coordination with the relevant authorities in the countries of accreditation in order to facilitate the return of Egyptians stranded abroad in cooperation with the relevant Egyptian authorities.

The statement added that the Egyptian government is contacting with members of the Egyptian communities to check on them and to provide all means of support and assistance, and monitor the health conditions of citizens who have been infected in other countries.

Hafez added that Minister Shoukry also discussed all the precautionary measures and procedures undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to combat the spread of the virus, in order to ensure the safety of the Ministry's employees and those visiting the premises.

It is worth noting that the Foreign Minister had instructed the heads of the diplomatic missions abroad to convey a message to the members of the Egyptian community in their countries of accreditation regarding the Egyptian state efforts to combat the spread of the virus, and to dedicate means of communication to responding to all inquiries and requests of Egyptian citizens abroad.]]>
3/26/2020 11:47:05 AM
<![CDATA[G20 leaders to convene remotely as coronavirus cases near half a million]]>
G20 finance ministers and central bankers agreed this week to develop an “action plan” to respond to the outbreak, which the International Monetary Fund expects will trigger a global recession, but they offered few details.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will address the leaders to seek support for ramping up funding and production of personal protection equipment for health workers amid a worldwide shortage.

“We have a global responsibility as humanity and especially those countries like the G20...” Tedros told a news conference in Geneva late on Wednesday. “They should be able to support countries all over the world...”

King Salman of Saudi Arabia, which as this year’s G20 chair called for the extraordinary virtual summit, tweeted overnight that its goal was “to unite efforts towards a global response.”

There are growing concerns about protectionist measures being discussed or adopted as countries scramble to respond to the virus. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged G20 leaders to match a pledge by countries like Australia and Canada to keep supply chains open and avoid export controls.

The video-conference scheduled for 1200 GMT also risks complications from an oil price war between two members, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and rising tensions between two others, the United States and China, over the origin of the virus.

In preparatory talks, China and the United States agreed to call a timeout on their coronavirus blame game, the South China Morning Post reported citing diplomatic sources.

But talks among U.N. Security Council nations have stalled over U.S. insistence that any joint statement call attention to the coronavirus’ origins in China, NBC News reported. Outbreaks, which began in central China late last year, have been reported in 196 countries.

“The U.S.-China dynamic is pivotal to successful G20 coordination, never more so than now as countries grapple 24/7 to confront and contain a pandemic we do not yet fully understand,” former acting U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro said.

Meanwhile, Washington may use the summit to launch a debate about ending an oil price war between Riyadh and Moscow that has pushed crude prices to near 20-year lows as the pandemic destroyed global demand, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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3/26/2020 11:13:36 AM
<![CDATA[Syrian ceasefire critical to combating coronavirus -U.N., Red Cross]]>
Prisoners and millions of displaced people, especially those in rebel-held Idlib in the northwest, are especially vulnerable after nine years of war, they said.

Syrians are "acutely vulnerable to COVID-19," Geir Pedersen, the U.N. special envoy for Syria, said in a statement, and he appealed on humanitarian grounds for "large-scale releases of detainees and abductees."

Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director for the Near and Middle East, echoed the call for a ceasefire.

"Because to some extent we can't fight two battles at the same time," Carboni said in an interview with Reuters. "We can't dedicate time and energy to what the pandemic response requires and at the same time be addressing the emergency needs of people recently displaced or destitute."

Carboni disclosed that the Swiss-based aid agency has asked Syrian authorities to allow it to help with infection prevention measures and to provide hygiene supplies at nine central prisons.

"Now we hope that the authorities will answer positively very soon to our proposal," he said. "We believe that people detained and displaced are even more vulnerable than the general population."

The ICRC, whose largest humanitarian operation worldwide is in Syria, is the only agency allowed into its detention centres - where some experts estimate some 130,000 people are held.

The Assad government announced on Sunday its first coronavirus case after unconfirmed reports suggested the coronavirus had been detected but covered up, a charge officials denied.

"Healthcare facilities have been destroyed or are degraded. There is a shortage of key medical equipment and health professionals," Pedersen said.

The ICRC's Carboni said that while Syrian health officials say the number of cases is quite limited, quick action is needed to halt a spread, including the provision of clean water.

"Even if there are five or 10 cases, our work would still be to focus on making sure that water reaches people because without water you can't wash your hands," he said.

In al-Hasakah, the largest city in the northeast, a pumping station providing water to 800,000 people has been out of operation for three days and needs repair, he said.

"We installed 45 water tanks all around the city and are water trucking until we can fix this pumping station and can have access," Carboni said.

The focus across Syria must be on prevention, he said. "Because when they start having cases, and if it gets out of hand, it's going to be very, very difficult to address, as we can see in many Western countries where they have way more sophisticated health systems," Carboni said.

He also noted the difficulties of putting in place general health guidance for containing the spread of the coronavirus. "The way to address the pandemic is to stay home," Carboni said. "But when you are an IDP (internally displaced person), you don't have a home. How do you do that? Certainly social distancing becomes a luxury."

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3/25/2020 8:05:49 AM
<![CDATA[G20 leaders to speak on Thursday about coronavirus, sources say]]>
G20 finance ministers and central bankers agreed during a separate video conference on Monday to develop an “action plan” to respond to the outbreak, which the International Monetary Fund expects will trigger a global recession. A subsequent statement from the Saudi G20 secretariat offered few details.

The extraordinary leaders’ summit will be complicated by an oil price war between two members, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and rising tensions between two others, the United States and China, over the origin of the virus, which has infected 378,000 people globally and killed more than 16,500.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has welcomed the fiscal and monetary steps taken by some countries, but said more would be needed, especially in the fiscal arena.

Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said given monetary policy constraints, the G20 countries’ only option to support growth might be fiscal stimulus, but even that remains in question.

“This is because the introduction of fiscal stimulus measures may raise the risk of a debt crisis once the coronavirus epidemic is over; such a prospect would have a devastating effect on global growth,” she said.

“This is something that G20 leaders will have in mind if they go for stimulus packages.”]]>
3/24/2020 11:24:52 AM
<![CDATA[4 Turkish soldiers, chief Syrian mercenary killed in Libya ]]>
Those were fighting in the ranks of the militias of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the Libyan capital. The Libyan National Army (LNA) captured Sirte earlier this year, and has been trying to enter Misrata and Tripoli after encircling them. The GNA is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations.

"Ghazwy clarified that the Turkish soldiers were killed duringLNA'ssiege of Ain Zara district that started on March 17," as reported by Al Arabiya. The Syrian chief militant died as a result of his injury after he had been captured by the LNA.

The mercenary confessed that 10 Turkish soldiers and eight Syrians fled after the ACV-15 armored combat vehicle carrying them was targeted by the LNA on Sunday as it crossed a defensive line to launch an attack.

The squad requested backup from Mitiga Airbase controlled by the GNA militias but it could not reach them due to the siege.

Ghazwy stated that the LNA does not mind handing the bodies to the families through the Libyan Red Crescent.

LNA Spokesperson Ahmed al-Mesmary declared on Sunday on his Facebook page that the militias “are violating the truce in Al-Hayrah district southern Tripoli, and striking the forces concentrations by artillery.”

On Monday, Mesmary announced that the militias are heavily striking Shershara area northern Tarhouna, which lies southeast of Tripoli, by Grad missiles. In parallel, the militias are randomly striking Qasr Bin Ghashir and Wadi al-Rabie neighborhoods eastern Tripoli. The spokesperson added that the militias’ commander threatens to launch more operations against the city.

"A ship called PRAY, raising Sierra Leone's flag, was preparing to leave the Port of Istanbul on Thursday to deliver arms to the GNA militias,"reported the Libyan Observatory newspaper. The owning company changed the ship’s name into ANA after it had been targeted at Tripoli port by the LNA in February. The strike incurred the death of three Turkish officers that were standing nearby. At the time, it raised the flag of Albania.

The ship, accompanied by Turkish frigates, is delivering armored vehicles, and a Hawk Radar system to replace the one that was destroyed in Mitiga Airbase by the LNA.
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3/23/2020 4:54:17 PM
<![CDATA[Rouhani: U.S. should lift sanctions if it wants to help Iran amid coronavirus]]>
“American leaders are lying ... If they want to help Iran, all they need to do is to lift sanctions .... Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

Iran is the Middle Eastern nation worst hit by coronavirus, with around 1,700 deaths, over 21,000 infected people and one person dying from the virus every 10 minutes, according to the health ministry.

Washington has offered humanitarian assistance to its longtime foe. But the country’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday rejected the offer.

Tensions between the two countries have been running high since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump exited Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Iranian authorities have blamed U.S. sanctions for hampering its efforts to curb the outbreak and Rouhani has urged Americans to call on their government to lift sanctions as Iran fights the coronavirus.

“U.S. is NOT listening, impeding global fight against #COVID19. The ONLY remedy: DEFY U.S. mass punishment. MORAL & PRAGMATIC imperative,” Tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday.

But the United States has sent Iran a blunt message: the spread of the virus will not save it from U.S. sanctions that are choking off its oil revenues and isolating its economy.

“You have blocked Iran’s oil exports, you have stopped Iran’s banking transactions... Your help offer is the biggest lie in the history,” Rouhani said.]]>
3/23/2020 10:37:56 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt: Ethiopia impedes reaching agreement on Renaissance dam]]>
In an interview with the “DMC Evening” talk show on the DMC channel on Saturday, the minister added that Egypt has asked Ethiopia to not fill the dam’s reservoir with water during the drought period or to allow small quantities of water to not cause harms to Egypt’s share. However, he added, the Ethiopian side does not want to abide by any commitments, saying “we have given ultimate flexibility.”

A project such as the Renaissance Dam has always had problems and it was scheduled to complete its building in 2014, but has not been completed yet.

Abdel-Atti added that Ethiopia tries to impede reaching an agreement on the dam since 2011 as it had done with the three other dams with Kenya, which has been harmed due to the Ethiopian attitude without reaching any deals.

Ethiopia has been advised to conduct some adjustments to the dam construction and that is why its building did not complete on time, said Abdel-Attai adding that they did not update us on the latest development concerning the construction of the dam.

The difference between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia 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.

Late February 2020, Ethiopia had announced that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries. The Ethiopian announcement came in response to an American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement among Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.

On March 1, 2020, Egypt slammed the Ethiopian Government after the latter criticized the final round of U.S.and WB-brokered negotiations on the GERD.

Since then, Egypt diplomatically has been lobbying against the Ethiopian intransigence concerning the dam issue; Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made European and African tours to discuss the file of the Ethiopian dam with a number of world leaders.
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3/22/2020 7:46:35 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi urges citizens to comply with coronavirus measures, stop overbuying]]>
In a meeting with a number of Egyptian women as Egypt celebrates its own Women’s Day, as well as some of the ministers including Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli and Health Minister Hala Zayed, Sisi asked citizens to stick to instructions and stay at home for two weeks, to overcome the current health crisis and help limit infection.

The president ordered the Ministry of State for Information to raise awareness among people about the coronavirus, including medical instructions.



Sisi said that the authorities, over six years, have been transparent while informing citizens and have disclosed all available information, affirming that some people “always doubt our procedures.”

He affirmed that the state is taking “unprecedented” measures to fight coronavirus and has nothing to hide about the number of those infected with the novel coronavirus.

He referred to the coronavirus cases detected on board the Nile cruise ship in Upper Egypt’s Luxor, saying that authorities have sterilized the ship and tested all persons onboard. The incident took place early in March. Dozens of coronavirus cases on board were confirmed, starting with a Taiwanese-American tourist.

w2

Concerning food and commodity, Sisi said Egypt does not have any shortage in goods currently, urging citizens not to overbuy products as the country already has sufficient reserves of food for at least the next three months.

The president thanked Egyptian youth for the efforts they made to deal with such global crises, which he said has hit 177 countries. He also paid tribute to the medical sector in Egypt, including doctors and nurses, saying that they are “fighting in a battle that is similar to a real war.”



Sisi has earlier ordered allocating LE 100 billion ($6.4 billion), to fund a coronavirus strategy and related precautionary measures.

Nine new coronavirus cases were detected on Saturday, all of them are Egyptians, who were in contact with positive cases, the Health Ministry said.

Two more deaths were confirmed; raising the total number to 10.

The new fatalities were a 68-year-old Egyptian woman and a 75-year-old man. Both of them are from Giza governorate.

Up to 41 coronavirus patients have totally recovered so far, the ministry spokesman said.

In order to curb the spread of the deadly virus, the state decided to close all mosques and Islamic places of worship across Egypt for two weeks starting from March 21, 2020. Also, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria announced a temporary closure of all churches, and the suspension of all rituals and activities.

In streets, the Egyptian Cabinet ordered the closure of all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, night clubs, bars, shopping centers (malls), and other local shops from 7:00 pm (Cairo time) to 6:00 pm across the nation. The decision excludes pharmacies, bakeries, grocery stores, supermarkets, and the delivery service.]]>
3/22/2020 6:10:08 PM
<![CDATA[Academic final exams likely to be postponed as Covid-19 persists]]>
The Supreme Council of Universities said in a Saturday statement that online platforms will continue to provide curricular services for the students without an internet charge.

Universities, schools and kindergartens were closed March 14 for two weeks; it is possible that the suspension will be extended due to coronavirus.

The council thanked the staff at all universities for their rapid support to remote learning, as well as the staff at hospitals of universities. Meanwhile, disinfecting university facilities will continue to be carried out.

The score of the mid-term exam will be added to the final test, will may be postponed and held no earlier than May 30.

Each university will decide for itself the date of the exam of its postgraduate students, given that the period of the suspension is not included in the time frame of finishing the student’s thesis.]]>
3/21/2020 4:38:49 PM
<![CDATA[Niger's president receives message from Sisi on GERD]]>
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who is on his last African leg, delivered the message during his meeting with Issoufou on the latest developments related to the Ethiopian dam's file, as well as bilateral ties and a host of issues of mutual interest, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said.

Shoukry conveyed Sisi's greetings to Issoufou, reviewing Egypt's efforts to reach a just and balanced agreement over the past years.

Issoufou, in turn, hailed Egypt's efforts during GERD negotiations.

He asserted the importance of respecting the international law principles, citing that Niger River is an example, as any related project, set to be established, should be agreed by all parties.

The two sides looked forward to boosting bilateral relations in various domains. ]]>
3/21/2020 11:41:56 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's State Security Prosecution releases 15 detained politicians ]]>
The released detainees were accused of spreading false news and joining a banned group.

Nafaa was detained after he posted a tweet criticizing President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s regime in September 2019.

Former Presidential campaigner and then turned critic Hazem Abdel-Azim has been brought before the state’s security prosecution for accusations of belonging to an outlawed group and disseminating fake news in May 2018.
]]>
3/19/2020 4:37:11 PM
<![CDATA[Work team in each ministry, govt body to follow up sanitization measures: PM]]>
During the meeting, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli decided that a work team will be formed in each ministry or governmental body to make sure that the cleaning and sanitizing measures are thoroughly taken.

Zayed said that the number of coronavirus cases reached 157 among Egyptians, in addition to 53 foreigners until Wednesday.

She also reviewed the measures taken to curb the spread of the virus including the quarantine measures and following up the program of those returning from outside the country.

Zayed also pointed out to the cooperation of the Health Ministry with the Armed Forces to implement a sanitization plan to the hotels in the tourist governorates, in addition to sanitizing ports, airports and transport vehicles to guarantee that the coronavirus does not spread. ]]>
3/19/2020 3:59:44 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry hands over message to Tanzanian president on GERD file]]>
Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi received Sisi's message during talks with Shoukry who is on a tour of some African countries including South Africa, Tanzania and Burundi to hand over messages from President Sisi to their leaders, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez.

Shoukry conveyed the greetings of president Sisi to his Tanzanian counterpart and reviewed during his talks with Tanzanian officials the latest developments in GERD talks by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopian under the auspices of the United States and the World Bank.

The Tanzanian top diplomat voiced appreciation of Egypt's efforts and the flexibility it has shown during the US-sponsored talks to reach an agreement securing the interests of the three Nile Basin countries.

Shoukry praised the Egyptian-Tanzanian relations, reaffirming Cairo's keenness on supporting Tanzania's development efforts, Hafez concluded.]]>
3/19/2020 3:15:12 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. sanctions Iran, seeks release of Americans amid coronavirus outbreak]]>
Iran is considering freeing some U.S. citizens, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news conference where he made clear Washington will maintain its maximum-pressure campaign to choke off Tehran's ability to export its oil.

The campaign, instituted after President Donald Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal Iran struck with six major powers, aims to force Iran to limit its nuclear, missile and regional activities.

Pompeo on Tuesday said the State Department is blacklisting nine entities based in South Africa, Hong Kong and China, as well as three Iranian individuals, for engaging in "significant transactions" to trade in Iranian petrochemicals.

While he did not name them, Pompeo said the step included blacklisting Iran’s armed forces social security investment company and its director for investing in sanctioned entities.

Separately, the Commerce Department said it will add six people - including five Iranian nuclear scientists - and 18 corporations to the U.S. "Entity List" for aiding Iran’s nuclear program, Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear and missile programs, and Russian military modernization efforts.

Without naming them, the Commerce Department said the move covers one company in Iran, two entities in China, nine in Pakistan, and five in the United Arab Emirates and will constrict the export of certain items to them.

The Entity List names foreign parties that are barred from receiving some or all items subject to U.S. export regulations unless the exporter secures a license, according to the department.

On Monday, sources familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue said the United States was unlikely to ease sanctions on Iran despite an appeal from China that it do so because of the pandemic.

Pompeo urged Iran to free U.S. citizens it has detained as a humanitarian gesture because of coronavirus. Iran has reported 16,169 coronavirus cases and 988 deaths in one of the worst national outbreaks outside of China, where the pandemic originated.

"We are aware that they are thinking about whether to release them or not," Pompeo told reporters. "We are urging them ... to release every American that is being wrongfully held there as a humanitarian gesture, given the risk that is posed."

It is not clear exactly how many Americans Iran may hold, but they include father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi; Michael White, a Navy veteran; and possibly Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent missing since 2007.

]]>
3/18/2020 7:45:11 AM
<![CDATA[Iraq names new PM as rockets hit base hosting foreign troops]]>
The nomination came as Iraq faced two separate rocket attacks, one near the high-security Green Zone in Baghdad late Tuesday after a dawn attack hit a military base hosting US-led coalition and NATO troops.

In a statement late Tuesday, 54-year-old Zurfi pledged elections within a year of forming his cabinet and vowed to respond to the demands of protesters hitting the streets for months over government graft and inefficiency.

He served multiple terms as governor of the Shiite holy city of Najaf and was elected in the 2018 parliamentary vote under the Nasr coalition, led by ex-PM Haider al-Abadi.

Zurfi once belonged to the Dawa party, an opposition force to dictator Saddam Hussein who was ousted in the 2003 US-led invasion, and has spent years in the United States.

The Iraqi-US dual national would have to renounce his American citizenship to take up the premiership.

He met late Tuesday with outgoing premier Adel Abdel Mahdi, who resigned in December during Iraq's unprecedented wave of anti-government rallies.

Zurfi has 30 days to pull together a cabinet, which would be put to a vote of confidence in parliament.

While he is likely to have the backing of some Shiite parties and the Kurdish and Sunni factions, he was quickly spurned by the powerful Fatah bloc, parliament's second-largest.

"We reject the president's unconstitutional step," said a statement by Fatah, the political arm of the Hashed al-Shaabi military network that includes factions allied with Washington's arch-foe Tehran.

The United States was more upbeat. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iraqis wanted "a government that upholds Iraq's sovereignty, provides basic needs, is free of corruption, and protects their human rights."

If Zurfi "puts these interests first, he will have US and international support," Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

]]>
3/18/2020 7:40:10 AM
<![CDATA[State Information Service's full statement on Guardian, NYTimes correspondents]]>
The statement said that the Guardian reporter's license in Egypt was canceled and that they gave a warning to chief of the New York Times Cairo bureau Declan Walsh.


Guardian reporter's license canceled over false coronavirus figures, apology demanded

CAIRO - 17March 2020: The State Information Service (SIS) has canceled the license of the Guardian reporter and gave a warning to the chief of the New York Times bureau in Cairo over false figures on the coronavirus in Egypt.





And here is the full statement:

Firstly: The General Information Authority, through its role in following up what is published about Egypt in the foreign media, has monitored the release of a press report in the British newspaper The Guardian on Sunday, March 15, which includes incorrect numbers and estimates regarding the cases of Coronavirus in Egypt.

It also monitored a group of tweets published by the reporter of the American newspaper New York Times in Egypt, including the same incorrect and exaggerated numbers that raised a lot of contraversy in Egypt and the whole world following with great concern everything related to this danger that is threatening humanity.

Secondly: With regard to the report and the tweets' content that violates all the recognized journalistic work ethics in Egypt and the world, journalist Diaa Rashwan, head of the State Information Service, summoned on March 16 both the Guardian's and the New York Times's correspondents. The reporters were confronted with their published content that aimed at misleading the readers. They were further confronted with the following:

The correspondents relied on one single source to this important data and information, while the rules of journalism require relying on more than one source to confirm the information before publication. This source is an anonymous Canadian doctor, who said he conducted a study based on arbitrary estimates of international air traffic and passenger numbers, which lead to false conclusions. Also, a WHO statement was issued indicating that this study is based on "speculations", and the organization does not accept accreditation based on speculations.

None of the reporters was interested in citing the opinion of the parties involved in the issue, in accordance with the rules of the press in the whole world, and at the forefront of these parties are the concerned authorities in Egypt, especially the Ministry of Health, and the World Health Organization's Cairo office or main headquaters in Europe.

The fact that the reporters hastily promoted incorrect data relying on an unpublished, unjustified and unrecognized study reveals the bad intention of the reporters to harm the Egyptian interests and undermine the country's stability.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization denied in official statements these arbitrary estimates. Moreover, the World Health Organization praised the efforts of the Egyptian state, its cooperation and transparent conduct in its fight against this epidemic. In addition, facts in Egypt are available to hundreds of foreign correspondents, who roam freely all over the country, and can monitor situations and phenomena on the ground.

The head of the State Information Service demanded that the correspondent who can provide information about fatalities that have not been disclosed by the Egyptian state can do that.

Thirdly: In light of the intentional professional abuses committed by the Guardian and the New York Times' correspondants, and given that none of the reporters apologized for their committed violations that had grave repercussions, the State Information Service has decided the following, in accordance with the Egyptian laws and regulations, the international law and the work rules of foreign correspondents in various countries of the world:

Withdrawing the license of the correspondent of the Guardian in Egypt.

The State Information Service requires the British newspaper to publish an apology for this report full of professional errors, according to press norms, or all the legal measures will be taken, including closing and withdrawing the license of the newspaper's office in Egypt.

A warning will be issued to the correspondent of the American newspaper in Egypt that stipulates the necessity of respecting the rules of the journalistic profession in Egypt, which are the rules approved by the newspaper in which he works.

The State Information Service praises the professional performance of many international press institutions that have offices and correspondents in Egypt. The information authority appeals to journalists to adhere to the global principles of the profession and to deal with the current critical situation with transparency and without manipulation. The agency stresses that it will not tolerate such practices from any party.

]]>
3/17/2020 8:39:12 PM
<![CDATA[Guardian reporter’s license canceled over false coronavirus figures, apology demanded ]]>
In a Tuesday statement, SIS demanded an apology from the Guardian for publishing the report that cited a study by a Canadian Medical Doctor claiming that infected people in the country may amount to more than 19,000. The official number stands at 196, with six deaths and 26 recovered cases at the time of writing.

The study was rejected due to lacking evidence, unlike his similar study on Iran, which was published on his account in Google Scholars. His Egypt study is not available online, except for some screenshots of it and his tweet of the figure.

Nevertheless, the Guardian inserted a hyperlink to the doctor’s tweet and the New York Times reporter in Egypt, Declan Walsh, retweeted it. He was summoned by the SIS on Monday, along with the Guardian reporter Ruth Michaelson.

The SIS said the report “stirred controversy in Egypt and the world that is anxiously following up everything related to the danger threatening the entire humanity.”

The two reporters “violated the rules of journalism” adopted in Egypt and worldwide, giving “misleading” information about such a sensitive issue by citing an “obscure” doctor, SIS added.

The sole source of the Guardian report is the study, which the World Health Organization said is based on speculations, which is not accepted by the organization, SIS noted. The WHO has already praised Egypt’s actions and transparency regarding the pandemic.

SIS emphasized that the reporters’ hastily published wrong info with only one obscure source that is not recognized by any prestigious entity and without getting back to the concerned parties, especially the Egyptian Health Ministry and the WHO bureau in Cairo. The service considered these actions as proof of their “ill intentions” towards Egyptian interests and the perception of conditions in the country.

Other than credible sources, licensed journalists are free to roam the country and observe the situation for themselves, SIS continued, inviting journalists to write the names of people infected or died of the virus other than those confined by the government.

The SIS decisions regarding Michaelson and Walsh come after the former’s repeated “intentional offenses” and the latter’s “professional violations” and in compliance with the Egyptian and international law and international codes regulating the work of foreign reporters.

Demanding an apology from the Guardian in a story in the same fashion of the first one, as followed in such cases, the SIS said that otherwise it may close the Guardian’s bureau in Egypt.

On the other hand, SIS applauded the coronavirus coverage of all other international media working in Egypt, acknowledging it did not detect any mischief in that regard except by the two reporters.

SIS called on all media to handle the coverage of the pandemic with professionalism, as many people follow the news anxiously on this danger facing humanity and cannot take any more fear.




]]>
3/17/2020 8:35:33 PM
<![CDATA[Militants force Turkey, Russia to shrink patrolled area on day 1]]>
Turkey was supposed to patrol six kilometers northern the road, while Russia was due to patrol six meters southern the road. For that purpose, the Syrian Arab Army and the Turkish troops were removing sand barriers installed by Turkey to impede the advances of the Syrian Arab Army Turkey in Idlib.

The joint patrols were agreed upon by Russia and Turkey in 2018 but became effective as a result of an agreement between both presidents to achieve a ceasefire that began on March 6.

The Russian Foreign Ministry declared Monday that militants in Idlib violated the ceasefire, and that they were rearming and taking counter-offensive action.

As reported by Sputnik Arabic, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Monday the return of 577,000 Syrian refugees that left in July 2018 to Jordan and Lebanon. The number of refugees returning from Jordan is 395,248, while the number of those returning from Lebanon is 182,014.

The ministry pointed out that 15,000 of the internally displaced went back to their permanent residence in 24 hours on Sunday, pointing out that the Syrian Arab Army cleared 2.7 hectares of mines, and detonated 31 explosives without indicating their locations.

Turkish deployments in Syria hike ahead of joint patrol: SOHR

CAIRO - 14 March 2020: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that a Turkish column composed of 20 vehicles entered Syrian territories via Kafr Lusin Crossing a day before the Russian-Turkish patrol go into effect on Sunday.




Early in February, the Syrian Arab Army started operations to restore the eastern and southern countryside of Idlib, and the Western countryside of Aleppo from militants. The action triggered a direct Turkish military intervention since the outbreak of the Civil War in 2011. The engagements had become very fierce on February 27 before a cautious calm took place gradually.

Uncertainty over number of casualties in Idlib's engagements

CAIRO - 29 February 2020: Turkish opposition platforms reported according to military sources that the number of soldiers killed in Syria's Idlib since February 27 recorded 200 while that of the injured is 70-80.



]]>
3/17/2020 2:54:29 PM
<![CDATA[China says Trump's 'Chinese virus' tweet smears China]]>
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing that the U.S. should first take care of its own matters.]]>
3/17/2020 11:10:08 AM
<![CDATA[NYTimes, Guardian reporters in Cairo sued for publishing misinformation on Covid-19 cases in Egypt]]>
The lawsuit, which was filed by Lawyer Amr Abdel-Salam, called on Attorney General Hamada al-Sawy to prevent both reporters from traveling outside Egypt, accusing them of publishing information aimed at destabilizing the public order.

Walsh tweeted on Monday a study that estimated the number of infections in Egypt as more than 19,000 but later deleted it, while Michaelson reported about the study in her article at the Guardian.

After consulting with the Ministry of Health and Population, the Egyptian cabinet denied on Monday news circulating about the infection of 19,000 citizens with Coronavirus.

The ministry pointed out to an interview WHO Representative in Egypt John Jabbour did with CNN on Sunday whereas he praised Egypt’s handling of the pandemic and its ability to control its spread rate given its possession of one the strongest detection systems in the region.

The number of cases infected with Coronavirus (Covid 2019) in Egypt reached 150, including 80 Egyptian nationals, announced Egyptian Minister of Information Osama Heikal in remarks to the media at the headquarters of the Cabinet downtown Cairo on Monday.

In a press conference at the Cabinet on Monday, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that Egypt will be suspending aviation movement in all airports starting March 19 until March 31.

He added all hotels in Egypt will launch a wide sterilization campaign during the suspension period. Madbouly explained that this suspension would cost Egypt losses up to LE 2.25 billion in both the tourism and aviation sectors; “However we value the Egyptians' health over anything else,'' Prime Minister said.

Earlier, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi directed to suspend study at schools and universities across the country for two weeks as of Sunday, March 15, as part of the country's comprehensive strategy to combat Coronavirus.

Coronavirus has forced many countries to suspend their flights around the globe after the infected cases reached 174,605 people and 6,685 deaths were reported to date. On March 10, 2020, the virus was announced a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

“WHO is deeply concerned by the alarming levels of the coronavirus spread, severity & inaction, & expects to see the number of cases, deaths & affected countries climb even higher. Therefore, we made the assessment that COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusin in a press conference.
]]>
3/16/2020 8:36:23 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s FM Shoukry to embark in African tour to deliver message from Sisi]]>
According to Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Ahmed Hafez, the tour will include South Africa, Tanzania, DR Congo, South Sudan, Burundi, Niger, and Rwanda.

On March 13, Shoukry handed his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, a message from President Sisi to French President Emmanuel Macron regarding the latest developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

According to Hafez, handing the message took place during a meeting that took place in Paris.

During the meeting, Shoukry called on France and the EU countries to exert more efforts to push Ethiopia into signing the agreement on filling and operating the dam, with the aim of maintaining security and stability in the Horn of Africa region, the spokesman added.

Nearly week ago, Shoukry embarked on a tour of which he visited number of Arab and European countries to deliver Sisi’s message to several leaders regarding GERD.

On March 11, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa affirmed his country’s solidarity with Egypt to ensure its legitimate Nile water rights, as Egypt and Ethiopia have been in a diplomatic conflict, especially recently, over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

In a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry in Bahrain, King Hamad said he considers Egypt’s national security a main pillar of Arab security, Bahrain News Agency, the state’s agency, reported.

President Sisi also sent a message to Jordanian King Abdullah II on the recent stalemate between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on GERD. The message was delivered by Shoukry.

"King Abdullah II expressed his country’s support to Egypt to preserve its water security," said the spokesman.


]]>
3/16/2020 5:06:27 PM
<![CDATA[LNA spox reveals truce violations by militias backed by Turkey]]>
Mesmary asserted that the Libyan Armed Forces agreed to the truce but would never accept threats by militias. The LNA spokesperson stated that Misrata militias attempts to attack the forces in Al Jufra and Sirte using advanced ammunition and drones supplied by Turkey.

The LNA spokesperson also disclosed an attempt by militias to target Al Jufra Airbase by a Turkish-made drone that was downed by the LNA southern Libya.

Mesmary stated that the Turkish spheres of influence in Libya are Misrata, Tripoli, and Zuwara saying that the LNA has spotted all the locations of Turkish troops in Libya.

The LNA spokesperson accused Turkey of transporting 300-400 mercenaries to Libya weekly by civilian aircrafts and ships that are protected by international laws. A number of those ships carry the flags of certain countries. For instance, a ship carrying mercenaries was raising the flag of Lebanon.

Mesmary declared that the number of Turkish officers on Libyan soil has reached 1,000 while that of mercenaries has recorded 7,500. Mesmary stated that the LNA struck Turkish targets in Mitiga International Airport.

LNA kills 16 Turkish military personnel including 3 commanders

CAIRO - 23 February 2020: Head of the Mobilization Department at the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khaled al-Mahgoub told Russia Today that the number of Turkish military personnel killed in Libya by the Armed Forces is 16 until present, while that of mercenaries brought by the Middle Eastern state is 105.




Mesmary revealed that the LNA has 85,000 soldiers, and that 7,000 were martyred since the launching of Al Karama Flood Operation in April. That is in addition to thousands of injuries.
Mesmary negated that any foreign elements fight in the ranks of LNA.

The LNA spokesperson stated that Tripoli militants are building a base on the borders with Tunisia so they would move there, if defeated. Border Guards. “Tunisian border guards are not in full control. We have reservations about certain border areas,” Mesmary said.

Mesmary revealed there are moves to make Minister of Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fathy Bashagha succeed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Commenting on the consideration of Ramtane Lamamra, who is Algerian, as special U.N. representative to Libya succeeding Ghassan Salame, the LNA spokesperson declared that the Libyan people vigorously rejects the appointment of an individual who belongs to a neighboring state.
]]>
3/15/2020 6:12:56 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwait: We have good relations with Egypt]]>
"At a press conference on Saturday, Sheikh Al-Sabah said such claims are groundless, saying Kuwait has good relations with Egypt," the Kuwaiti News Agency KUNA reported.



The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health announced that the number of coronavirus cases rose to 112 people after confirming eight new cases on Sunday.


Three days ago, the Kuwaiti authorities suspended the international flights from all over the world to the country in response to the virus outbreak.

Coronavirus has forced many countries to suspend their flights around the globe after the infected cases reached 157,483 people and 5,845 deaths were reported to date. On March 10, 2020, the virus was announced a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

“WHO is deeply concerned by the alarming levels of the coronavirus spread, severity & inaction, & expects to see the number of cases, deaths & affected countries climb even higher. Therefore, we made the assessment that COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press conference.
]]>
3/15/2020 4:15:32 PM
<![CDATA[Sudan to be mediator in Egypt/Ethiopia talks over GERD: Daglo]]>
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi discussed the developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with Daglo on Sunday.

The meeting held in Cairo covered the outcomes of the negotiations that took place in rounds in Washington, and the agreement signed by Egypt with initial letters.

President Sisi highlighted Egypt's support to Sudan during the current critical transitional phase pointing out that Egypt’s policies have always been backing Sudan.

On his side, Daglo praised the Egyptian honest and diligent support aimed for the preservation of the safety and stability of Sudan in a pivotal phase of its history.

The meeting was attended by Egypt’s Chief Intelligence Abas Kamel, as announced by Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady on social media.

Daglo arrived in Cairo on Saturday in a two-day state visit upon an invitation by President Sisi.

The head of the sovereignty council of Sudan, General Abdel Fatah al Burhan, and his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, separately met on March 9 the Egyptian chief of General Intelligence, Abbas Kamel, Sudan state media reported.

Accompanied by a high-profile security delegation, Abbas arrived Monday in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to convey a message of solidarity from the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi following a foiled attempt on prime minister Abdalla Hamdok’s life.

The officials discussed regional and international topics of common interest, plans to boost cooperation in different fields.

According to Egyptian state media, Sisi's message expressed solidarity and support for the Sudanese state following the terrorist life attempt on the government's premier.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Hafez, expressed his disappointment on March 8 over the Sudanese Foreign Ministry’s statement that voiced reservations regarding a draft resolution issued by the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers on Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam.

Hafez pointed out in a press statement that Egypt was keen to inform the Sudanese representative at the Arab League about the draft resolution since March 1st, adding that Sudan had confirmed then receiving the draft resolution, however, did not share any comments with the Egyptian authorities.

Hafez added that the Egyptian delegation removed Sudan from the draft resolution as per the Sudanese authorities’ desire. The spokesperson said that the amendments suggested later by Sudan seek to weaken the draft resolution.

Hafez said that the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers’ meeting only supported the Egyptian water rights in accordance with the International law principles and called for signing the already-brokered agreement in US Washington.
]]>
3/15/2020 4:07:02 PM
<![CDATA[Mohamed Asaad won the award for investigative journalism in the Mustafa and Ali Amin Awards]]>
Colleague Mohamed Asaad received the award after a series of investigations done by him on the standard specification for the powder of fire extinguishers in Egypt, which proved to be invalid and violated all international standards, and the risk it poses to the health of citizens, which was confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court of the State Council after the publication of the investigation, the court confirmed the validity of everything that was included in the investigation and stated that the Standards and Quality Authority issued the standard to allow the production of multiple fire extinguishers in violation of all international and European standards, though its application would cause severe damage to users, in addition to proving their conformity with the specifications of countries which is not true, and the use of dry chemical powder extinguishers to combat 5 different types of fires, including metal fires, unparalleled in the approved scientific and technological sources, and are not produced by international companies considered specialized in fire extinguishers.

The standard has caused Egypt to become the only country that witnesses the production of fire extinguishers to deal with all types of fires, including metal fires, and the latter has warned all global parties of the danger of using them with fires of other groups, because they cause fires to explode and widen rather than extinguish them, and injure humans , causes blindness, skin erosion, respiratory destruction, and release of lethal phosphine gas.]]>
3/15/2020 3:51:28 PM
<![CDATA[Sudanese Sovereign Council 1st deputy meets Sisi in Cairo]]>
Daglo arrived in Cairo on Saturday in a two-day state visit upon an invitation by President Sisi.

The head of the sovereignty council of Sudan, General Abdel Fatah al Burhan, and his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, separately met on March 9 the Egyptian chief of General Intelligence, Abbas Kamel, Sudan state media reported.

Accompanied by a high-profile security delegation, Abbas arrived Monday in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to convey a message of solidarity from the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi following a foiled attempt on prime minister Abdalla Hamdok’s life.

The officials discussed regional and international topics of common interest, plans to boost cooperation in different fields.

According to Egyptian state media, Sisi's message expressed solidarity and support for the Sudanese state following the terrorist life attempt on the government's premier.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Hafez, expressed his disappointment on March 8 over the Sudanese Foreign Ministry’s statement that voiced reservations regarding a draft resolution issued by the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers on Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam.

Hafez pointed out in a press statement that Egypt was keen to inform the Sudanese representative at the Arab League about the draft resolution since March 1st, adding that Sudan had confirmed then receiving the draft resolution, however, did not share any comments with the Egyptian authorities.

Hafez added that the Egyptian delegation removed Sudan from the draft resolution as per the Sudanese authorities’ desire. The spokesperson said that the amendments suggested later by Sudan seek to weaken the draft resolution.

Hafez said that the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers’ meeting only supported the Egyptian water rights in accordance with the International law principles and called for signing the already-brokered agreement in US Washington.
]]>
3/15/2020 1:09:17 PM
<![CDATA[Lockdowns, self-isolation and entry bans imposed to fight global coronavirus spread]]>
Panic buying in Australia, the United States and Britain saw leaders appeal for calm over the virus that has infected over 138,000 people globally and killed more than 5,000.

Several countries imposed bans on mass gathering, shuttered sporting, cultural and religious events, while medical experts urged people to practice “social distancing” to curb the spread.

All of Pope Francis’ Easter services next month will be held without the faithful attending, the Vatican said on Sunday, in a step believed to be unprecedented in modern times.

Trump tests negative for coronavirus, extends travel ban to Britain, Ireland
American Airlines cutting international flights by 75% amid demand collapse
The services, four days of major events from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, usually draw tens of thousands of people to sites in Rome and in the Vatican.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said from midnight Sunday international travelers arriving in the country would need to isolate themselves for 14 days, and foreign cruise ships would be banned for 30 days, given a rise in imported cases.

“What we’ve seen in recent weeks, is more countries having issues with the virus and that means the source of some of those transmissions are coming from more and more countries,” Morrison told a news conference.

Australia’s latest restrictions mirror those announced by neighboring New Zealand on Saturday. Australia has recorded more than 250 coronavirus cases and three deaths.

TRAVEL BANS, AIRLINE CUTBACKS
U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday. The United States has recorded more than 2,000 cases and 50 deaths, but has been criticized for slow testing.

Travel bans and a plunge in global air travel saw further airline cut backs, with American Airlines Inc planning to cut 75% of international flights through May 6 and ground nearly all its widebody fleet.

The dramatic announcement by the largest U.S. airline came hours after the White House said the United States would widen new travel restrictions on Europeans to include travelers in the United Kingdom and Ireland, starting Monday night.

Washington has already imposed flight restrictions on China.

China tightened checks on international travelers arriving at Beijing airport on Sunday, after the number of imported new coronavirus infections surpassed locally transmitted cases for a second day in a row.

Anyone arriving to Beijing from abroad will be transferred directly to a central quarantine facility for 14 days for observation starting March 16, a city government official said.

China, where the epidemic began in December, appears to now face a greater threat of new infections from outside its borders as it continues to slow the spread of the virus domestically.

China has reported 80,984 cases and 3,203 deaths, according to a Reuters tally, of which 66,911 have recovered in mainland China, which has imposed draconian containment policies, locking down several major cities.

LOCKDOWNS, STAY HOME
Spain put its 47 million inhabitants under partial lockdown on Saturday as part of a 15-day state of emergency to combat the epidemic in Europe’s second worst-affected country after Italy.

Spain had 193 coronavirus deaths and 6,250 cases, public broadcaster TVE said on Saturday, up from 120 deaths reported on Friday.

France will shut shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities from Sunday with its 67 million people were told to stay home after confirmed infections doubled in 72 hours.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the government had no other option after the public health authority said 91 people had died in France and almost 4,500 were now infected.

“We must absolutely limit our movements,” he said.

Britain is preparing to ban mass gatherings, while isolating people aged over 70 for up to four months is part of its action plan to tackle coronavirus which will be implemented in the coming weeks, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday.

Argentina banned entry to non-residents who have traveled to a country highly affected by coronavirus in the last 14 days, the government officially announced late on Saturday.

The ban will last 30 days. Argentina has 45 cases of coronavirus, the health ministry said, up from 21 on March 12.

Panama said flights arriving from Europe and Asia would be temporarily suspended, with the exception of flights that transport doctors, medical equipment or other humanitarian aid.

Colombia will expel four Europeans for violating compulsory quarantine protocols, just hours after it closed its border with Venezuela, the government said on Saturday.

ANTI-TERRORISM TRACKING TO FIGHT VIRUS

Israel will use anti-terrorism tracking technology and partially shutdown its economy to minimize transmission risks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.

Cyber tech monitoring would be deployed to locate people who have been in contact with those carrying the virus, subject to cabinet approval, Netanyahu told a news conference in Jerusalem.

Starting Sunday, South Korea began to subject visitors from France, Germany, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands to stricter border checks, after imposing similar rules for China, Italy and Iran which have major outbreaks.

Visitors from those countries now need to download an app which will report whether they have symptoms. South Korea has been testing hundreds of thousands of people and tracking potential carriers using cell phone and satellite technology.

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3/15/2020 12:31:40 PM
<![CDATA[Maps of militia-cleared areas in Libya revealed]]>
Mesmary highlighted capturing a border zone that was used by terrorists to smuggle arms into Egypt. That is the Musaed border crossing located in Derna governorate, which supported the Islamic State (IS) when it first appeared in 2014, and where 240 assassinations of high-ranking military personnel took place.



Another terrorist stronghold was Benghazi where militants used to receive training, and where 720 assassinations of military, civilian, and political figures were carried out. After it was freed, Benghazi became the headquarters of the Libyan House of Representatives and the army's General Command.

Mesmary pointed out that the LNA liberated large oil fields as well as Sirte's Bin Jawad, Al Jufra and the airbase it houses. In January, the Libyan Armed Forces entered Sirte clearing the city from militants.

Prisoners conscripted to fight in Tripoli militias ranks: LNA

CAIRO - 2 March 2020: The Libyan National Army (LNA) released a statement on Monday accusing Osama al-Juwaily, commander of the militias operating western Tripoli, of conscripting prisoners and convicts in criminal cases to fight the Libyan Armed Forces.



Earlier this year, the LNA closed oil ports and fields whose revenues were used by Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) to finance the militias protecting it.

The GNA is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations.
The Libyan National Oil Corporation declared on Thursday that crude oil production declined to 97,508 bpd on March 11, and that losses since January 17 marking the beginning of the shutdown recorded over $3 billion.

Head of Mobilization Department at the LNA Khaled al-Mahgoub told Al Arabiya that engagements between the Libyan Armed Forces and militias broke out on March 13 in Al Aziziyah and Al Haira district near Al Gheryan city southern Tripoli.

Mahgoub added that the LNA caused human losses among the militias and destroyed a number of military vehicles as the GNA forces attempted to attack concentrations of the Libyan Armed Forces.

On the same day, the Libyan Air Force struck sites of GNA militias in Abou Grain eastern Misrata destroying an air defense system carried by Turkish-made vehicles, armored vehicles, and other vehicles carrying ammunition.

That is one day after hitting air defense missile stations eastern Misrata aborting a possible attack against LNA concentrations.
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3/14/2020 8:44:01 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish deployments in Syria hike ahead of joint patrol: SOHR]]>
As such, the numbers of Turkish military vehicles that entered Idlib's de-escalation zone since March 6 ceasefire and since February 2 are 920 and 4,350, respectively. Of those, 60 arrived on March 13.

Those include tanks, personnel carriers, armored vehicles, mobile bulletproof guard booths and military radars. The number of Turkish soldiers who have been deployed in Idlib and Aleppo since February 2 to date surpass 9,350.

March 13

SOHR observed that the Syrian Arab Army struck Kansafra town having a Turkish checkpoint in Jabal Al Zawiyah from its positions in the southern countryside of Idlib.

The Syrian Armed Forces removed the sand barriers set up by Turkish troops to block their advance on the M5 highway connecting Damascus with Aleppo, and the M4 highway connecting Aleppo and Latakia from the areas they control in the coastal governorate.

Turkish troops also removed the sand barriers near their checkpoint in Maar Hattat on the M5.

Turkey will patrol six kilometers northern the M4 while Russia will patrol six kilometers southern the highway. The patrolled area stretches from Tarnabah village, west of Saraqeb, to Ain Hoor in Latakia countryside.

March 12

SOHR monitored that an artillery shelling was launched by the Syrian Arab Army in Al Jub Al Ahmar against "Kabana frontlines in Latakia countryside, as well as the roads leading to the frontline in the same countryside." Yet, no casualties were reported.

The Syrian Armed Forces captured areas in Maarrat Mukhas and Al-Burayj near Kafr Nubl without facing any resistance as militants had fled. On March 7, the forces entered those areas but withdrew because of shelling by armed groups.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that two militants of militias backed by Turkey were killed and eight others were injured by a car bomb in Tal Half village, located in the countryside of Ras Al Ain northwestern Hasakah.

As indicated by the agency, a number of vehicles moved the bodies and the injured to Turkish territories.

On the other hand, unknown fighter jets hit sites of the Syrian Arab Army southern Bou Kamal district in the countryside of Deir Al Zour on the borders with Iraq causing only material losses.

Also, 18 elements of Iran-backed militias were killed by airstrikes eastern Syria.

March 11

The Syrian Arab Army fired several rockets targeting points in Al-Sarmaniyah town in Sahl Al-Ghab in the north-western countryside of Hama, according to SOHR.

March 10

RT Arabic reported on March 10 that Turkey withdrew all heavy equipment from its 12 checkpoints in Syria.

The Russian Ministry of Defense negated a statement by Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan about the destruction of eight Pantsir missile systems in Idlib describing the declaration as "exaggerated."

On March 8, Erdogan announced the killing of 59 Turkish soldiers in Idlib since the launching of Spring Shield Operation against the Syrian Arab Army on March 1.




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3/14/2020 3:53:55 PM
<![CDATA[Deputy chief of Sudan’s ruling council visits Egypt]]>
During his visit, Hamidati will discuss bilateral relations and ways of strengthening cooperation between the two countries in various fields, as well as issues of mutual concern, the statement added.

On March 9, 2020, head of the sovereignty council of Sudan, General Abdel Fatah al Burhan, and his deputy Hamidati, separately met with Egyptian chief of General Intelligence in Khartoum, Abbas Kamel, Sudan state media reported.

Kamel conveyed a message of solidarity from the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi following a foiled attempt on prime minister Abdalla Hamdok’s life. Five days ago, Hamdok survived an assassination attempt in Khartoum.]]>
3/14/2020 1:44:11 PM
<![CDATA[Russia bans Upper House lawmakers from travelling abroad]]>
According to Matvienko, visits by foreign delegations from countries deemed “dangerous” in terms of the coronavirus outbreak have also been suspended, Sputnik news agency reported.

The Speaker went on to say that there is no need for panic over the viral infection as the authorities are not concealing any information about the disease and the government's measures to counter its spread are effective and sufficient. Nevertheless, Matvienko noted that the danger of the new coronavirus should not be underestimated. ]]>
3/14/2020 12:07:17 PM
<![CDATA[FM Shoukry hands his French counterpart message from Sisi on GERD ]]>
According to Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Ahmed Hafez, handing the message took place during a meeting that took place in Paris.

During the meeting, Shoukry called on France and the EU countries to exert more efforts to push Ethiopia into signing the agreement on filling and operating the dam, with the aim of maintaining security and stability in the Horn of Africa region, the spokesman added.

The two sides discussed ways of fostering bilateral cooperation in different fields, as well as regional and international issues of common concern, the spokesman noted.

The top Egyptian diplomat lauded the distinguished level of cooperation between Cairo and Paris in various areas, asserting that Egypt looks forward to promoting strategic ties with France.

The pair agreed on the importance of continuing coordination and consultation in the fight against terrorism, especially in the light of Egypt's great efforts in this regard.

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Egypt is rely on the support of international partners, including France to join international efforts to confront terrorism and stand against countries that sponsor and finance foreign terrorists, the spokesman quoted Shoukry as saying.

The two foreign ministers exchanged views on means of settling crises in the Middle East, notably the Libyan one.

Concerning the Libyan file, the two ministers agreed on the significance of keeping bilateral coordination to resolve the Libyan conflict through promoting the comprehensive political solution, combating terrorism and rejecting foreign interference in the North African country.

With regard to the Syrian crisis, Shoukry and Le Drian asserted their commitment to the political settlement in Syria, while preserving the country's unity and territorial integrity.

For his part, the French foreign minister expressed his appreciation of the key and central role played by Egypt to strengthen regional stability, underlining the need to elevate the distinct relations between the two countries to higher levels during the coming period.

Nearly week ago, Shoukry embarked on a tour of which he visited number of Arab and European countries to deliver Sisi’s message to several leaders regarding GERD.

On March 11, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa affirmed his country’s solidarity with Egypt to ensure its legitimate Nile water rights, as Egypt and Ethiopia have been in a diplomatic conflict, especially recently, over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

In a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry in Bahrain, King Hamad said he considers Egypt’s national security a main pillar of Arab security, Bahrain News Agency, the state’s agency, reported.

President Sisi also sent a message to Jordanian King Abdullah II on the recent stalemate between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on GERD. The message was delivered by Shoukry.

"King Abdullah II expressed his country’s support to Egypt to preserve its water security," said the spokesman.

March 5, the Arab League Council voiced rejection of any infringement of Egypt’s historical rights to the waters of the River Nile.

This came at the end of the 153rd session of the Arab League Council, as it reaffirmed that Egypt’s water security is an integral part of Arab national security.

It issued a decision on the controversial Ethiopian dam, vowing support to Egypt’s historical rights to the river which provides it with over 90 percent of its water supply.

The council asserted that Ethiopia should comply with the principles of international law.]]>
3/13/2020 8:36:08 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian amb. hands Lebanese president message from Sisi]]>
During the meeting, Aoun and Allawi reviewed the situation in Lebanon and developments in the region, the Presidency said, without disclosing further details.

Late in January, Allawi held a meeting with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab, during which they discussed developments and some issues related to bilateral issues between the two countries, the Egyptian state’s news agency MENA reported.

Allawi reviewed with the prime minister, during the meeting, the activities of the Egyptian medical center, which has been established in Beirut two weeks earlier. The ambassador noted that the center receives about 500 people daily, who receive medical service free of charge, within the framework of Egyptian state’s keenness to support the Lebanese people, especially during the current economic situation in the sisterly country.

Lebanon has been hit by massive demonstrations against the political regime and banking sector. The country suffers its worst economic crisis in decades.

Concerning economy, banks have imposed tight restrictions on dollar withdrawals and transfers abroad, in a bid to tackle the severe liquidity crisis.

Diab took post as prime minister in December last year, succeeding popular Saad al-Hariri who has served since 2016. Saad is the son of the assassinated Prime Minister Rafic al-Hariri who died in 2005.]]>
3/13/2020 5:18:29 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, France confer on cooperation in military, civil fields]]>
Thales is one of the international companies operating in the field of communications and electronics.

The meeting comes within the framework of a series of meetings between Egypt and France to follow up the developments of mutual cooperation in the different military and civil fields in addition to exchanging points of view on transferring expertise and localizing modern technology in the different domains, Assar said.

Meanwhile, Caine said that Thales Group is keen on promoting partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production, asserting France's interest in cooperating with Egypt in the different military and civil fields including air defense systems, land stations controlling satellites and communication devices. ]]>
3/12/2020 1:36:36 PM
<![CDATA[Iran says it has asked IMF for $5 billion emergency funding to fight coronavirus]]>
The IMF managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, “has stated that countries affected by #COVID19 will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument. Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately”, Zarif said.

Iran’s Central Bank chief Abdolnaser Hemmati wrote on his Instagram page that “in a letter addressed to the head of IMF, I have requested five billion U.S. dollar from the RFI emergency fund to help our fight against the coronavirus”.]]>
3/12/2020 11:37:23 AM
<![CDATA[Bahraini king voices solidarity with Egypt in preserving water rights]]>
This comes days after an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson expressed his disappointment over the Sudanese Foreign Ministry’s statement that voiced reservations regarding a draft resolution issued by the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers on GERD.

In a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Bahrain, King Hamad said he considers Egypt’s national security a main pillar of Arab security, Bahrain News Agency, the state’s agency, reported.

King Hamad praised Egypt’s historic and leading role in protecting Arab national security as well as the North African country’s keenness to secure the Arab national interests, unify neighboring Arab states and strengthen peace and stability in the region.

In this regard, the Bahraini king affirmed his country’s support to the United States’ efforts to reach an agreement between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in terms of filling and operating the Ethiopian dam.

Shoukry handed King Hamad a written message from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which highlighted the special relations with Bahrain and the regional and international updates as well as issues of mutual concern.

Shoury, during the meeting, hailed the efforts made by the Bahraini king to develop ties with Egypt and affirmed appreciation to the Arab stances of Bahrain toward Egypt and the Bahraini role in joint Arab work.

Earlier in March, President Sisi sent a message to Jordanian King Abdullah II on the recent stalemate between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on GERD, said the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman in a statement.

The message was delivered by Shoukry, who embarked on a tour to some Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman Sultanate.

"King Abdullah II expressed his country’s support to Egypt to preserve its water security," said the spokesman.

Egypt calls Ethiopian response to AL, inappropriate, undiplomatic

CAIRO – 7 March 2020: The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Friday in which it rejected the Ethiopian foreign ministry’s statement on the Arab League stance on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) altogether.


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3/11/2020 9:09:58 PM
<![CDATA[Arab League plays up media role in boosting Arab-African ties]]>
Addressing the seventh international media forum for African media men, director of the AL media department Nasima Sharit pressed for the need to activate the media role to allow members of societies to reach understandings and hone the skills of the media to prepare generations able to deal with all communication channels.

For his part, Awani Qandeel, head of African Union for Media, called for presenting sound media reports to the Africans with highlighting the role of the media in confronting terrorism and drying up its resources.]]>
3/11/2020 3:50:04 PM
<![CDATA[Sultan of Oman receives message from Sisi on Ethiopian dam talks]]>
Shoukry handed over the message at a meeting with the Sultan of Oman during his current visit to Oman, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez.

Shoukry conveyed the greetings of President Sisi to the Sultan of Oman and his hope for more cooperation between the two countries, added the spokesman.

Also, Shoukry conveyed an invitation from President Sisi to Sultan Haytham to visit Egypt in the nearest opportunity, the spokesman pointed out.

The Sultan of Oman confirmed his country's stance supporting Egypt regarding the Ethiopian dam talks, added the spokesman. ]]>
3/11/2020 12:29:24 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt calls for appointing new UN envoy to Libya]]>
Shoukry's remarks came during a phone call with Guterres to discuss the latest developments in the Libyan crisis, and ways to concert efforts to restore security and stability in the country, especially in light of Salameh's resignation.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez, the two sides stressed the need to promptly appoint a new UN envoy that would be accepted by all Libyan parties.

The two sides also tackled ways to boost coordination between Egypt and the United Nations regarding the developments of various international and regional issues.

Shoukry asserted Egypt's support for the United Nations' efforts to address many issues of concern to the international community at the political, security and development levels.

For his part, Guterres expressed appreciation for the important role Egypt plays in the region, noting that he looks forward to deepening the coordination and consultation with Egypt during the coming period.

On March 2, Ghassan Salameh announced that he had asked Guterres to exempt him from his post as a UN special envoy to Libya, explaining that this decision was due to health problems and that he was unable to continue with "this pace of tension."
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3/10/2020 2:15:14 PM
<![CDATA[OSCE voices concern over detention of Turkish journalists]]>
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, has denounced the detention of journalists in Turkey.

On Wednesday, Odatv news website Director Barış Terkoğlu and reporter Hülya Kılınç were detained over a news report in which they disclosed the identity of an intelligence officer who was killed in Libya.

OSCE warned that arresting journalists for their work seriously threatens media freedom and their ability to report on issues of public interest. ]]>
3/10/2020 12:10:26 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s human rights delegation takes part in 43rd Session of HRC]]>
The Egyptian human rights mission participated in a session tackled the human rights situations in South Sudan and Iran. The session has been attended by representatives from the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran.

Egypt’s participation would last until March 14, said head of the National Society for Rights and Freedoms Walid Farouk in the statement.

At the session, Chief of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (UNCHRSS) Yasmin Sooka warned against a fragile peace in the African country, tweeting “UNCHRSS is concerned the international community may be lulled into believing the conflict is fully over, now there is unity government in SS [South Sudan]. Reality more complex - fragile peace at national level morphed into localized ethnic conflicts.”


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3/9/2020 5:41:02 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish expansionist designs in Libya revealed]]>
Ankara's economic ambitions in Libya are flagrantly announced by the Turkish officials and reported by the official media, which is controlled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party.

Anadolu news agency said that Ankara is set to acquire a large part of the expected investments in Libya, especially in the reconstruction field, with a value of up to $120 billion.

According to Anadolu,Chairman of the Turkey-Libya Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) Morteza Kernville said that an agreement will soon be concluded between the governments of Ankara and Tripoli in the commercial affairs;the agreement is expected to solve the commercial problems between the two parties.

Kernville stressed the availability of business opportunities in Libya, and urged Turkish investors to seize these opportunities. He added, "During the reconstruction process, homes, public buildings, and infrastructure will be built in Libya."]]>
3/9/2020 1:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry confers with Kuwaiti premier on boosting joint cooperation]]>
The meeting, held at Bayan Palace, covered a set of issues of mutual concern, current challenges as well as the latest developments on the regional and international arenas.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry delivered a message from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah on the latest developments of the negotiations on Renaissance Dam.

In statements, Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez said Shoukry expressed Egypt's appreciation to the Kuwaiti stance which emerged during the recent ministerial meeting of the Arab League in which it supported an Arab decision siding with Egypt in the issue of Renaissance Dam.

Shoukry expressed the Egyptian government and people's appreciation to the Kuwaiti emir and people, saying Egypt lauds strong relations binding his country with Kuwait, Hafez said.

The Kuwait emir said his country sides with Egypt on the Ethiopian dam file to preserve its water rights and security, Hafez added.]]>
3/9/2020 11:56:08 AM
<![CDATA[Turkish role western Syria no longer desired by West: Writer]]>
Strikes by militants backed by Turkey, which still sends troops to Syrian territories, persist against the Syrian Arab Army showing signs of continued fighting and fierce battles to come.

Writer and International Affairs Journalist at Al Ahram Ihab Omar explains to Egypt Today the aspects of the situation in Syria and speculations on its evolution.

Factors behind advances of the Syrian Arab Army

“Despite European and U.S. media support to Turkey, Russian-Western understandings took place behind the scenes. Based on those understandings, spheres of influence have been divided between Russia and the West until present. Also based on those understandings, the expansive Turkish role western Syria is no longer desired by the West. In spite of Western statements backing Turkey, Europe and the United States have agreed with Russia to dismantle Turkish influence western Syria, precisely in Idlib, and the western and middle sections of Aleppo,” Omar says.

“In light of the aforementioned, the Syrian Arab Army fully equipped by Russia, backed by Iranian militias and Russian Air Force as well as Russian military consultants running operations rooms, was able to achieve success in Idlib and that success is expected to persist in the upcoming period,” the writer adds.

Will the Syrian Arab Army hold out?

“Unfortunately, that matter is bound to international adaptations. It is true that there is Russian-Western consensus over eliminating the Turkish role western Syria but what if [Turkish President Recep Tayip] Erdogan makes a concession pertinent to Turkish sovereignty like a military base for Russia or advantages to Europe for it to import Russian gas through Turkey,” the international affairs journalist suggests.

“I estimate that the Syrian Arab Army will restore control over Idlib entirely this year, and that Erdogan’s maneuvers will fail as the West and Russia have gained enough from Turkish concessions,” Omar says.

The fate of armed groups

“Erdogan attempts to export the militants of Idlib and Aleppo to Libya; however, I estimate that southern Turkey is the prime destination of those terrorists. There is a Turkish branch of the Islamic State (IS) that came into existence there since 2015 and that will become active soon in light of the fleeing of Idlib militants,” the writer highlights.

The stance of the international community

“The United States and France want to end the sphere of influence of political Islam in Syria, particularly Idlib. There is consensus among Trump and Macron over that matter. That is why France and the United States direct the international community into ignoring what is happening in Idlib and letting the Syrian Armed Forces finish its Turkish counterpart on Syrian soil,” Omar says.

What will Turkey do about its defeat western Syria?

“Like it did about its defeat eastern Syria and northern Iraq, and after the success of the June 30 Revolution in Egypt in 2013 and the failure of its role in Yemen. Nothing but more funny statements by Erdogan,” the international affairs journalist says.

As to how realistic Turkish threats are, the writer points out, “Turkey will not be able to escalate unless it gets U.S. military support, and that is very unlikely.”

Impact on the buffer zone Turkey aims for

Turkey has been attempting since last year to create a buffer zone on Turkish and northeastern Syrian borders where one million refugees will be brought from Turkish cities to dwell in that area.

Whether the fighting in the west will have its toll on the plan or not, Omar says, “there is a Western consensus over the accomplishment of that project to inhibit the inflow of refugees to Europe.”

The fate of Eastern Syria

“The Russian-Western understandings over eastern and western Syria after the clearance of Turkish influence in Idlib are fixed. The east belongs to the United States and the west belongs to Russia, while a Turkish pocket in the northeast is allowed. That is the buffer zone,” the writer explains.

The fate of Syrian refugees in Turkey

“The Turkish society has concerns over Syrian refugees, and Turkish authorities have started to harass them. That makes it clear that Erdogan uses refugees to blackmail Europe or create a Syrian lobby in Europe that serves the agendas of Turkey and political Islam. Once the door of Europe was slammed shut in the face of Syrian refugees, their working conditions in Turkey have become miserable,” Omar clarifies.

“I estimate that Turkey will make large numbers of refugees return to Syria within a couple of years,” international affairs aspect speculates.

Impact on Libya

“Erdogan is trying in vain to make up for his political, regional and military losses in Syria, Iraq and Yemen by intervening in Libya. Yet, that intervention is very late as international parties have already drawn up the plan leaving no room for Turkey,” the writer suggests.

“Now, we see Turkish soldiers and Turkey-backed mercenaries falling in Libya. In Summer, the Libyan National Army (LNA) will take over Tripoli and end Libyan division while Turkey will stand helpless,” Omar estimates.
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3/8/2020 6:00:02 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi sends King Abdullah II message on Ethiopia’s dam]]>
The message was delivered by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who embarked on a tour to some Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman Sultanate.

Shoukry voiced Egypt’s gratitude to the Hashemite Kingdom for its support to Egypt regarding the file of the Renaissance Dam during the 153rd session of the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers on March 4, 2020.

"King Abdullah II expressed his country’s support to Egypt to preserve its water security," Hafez added, noting that the Egyptian foreign minister and King Abdullah discussed the bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern.

“The meeting affirmed that Egypt and Jordan will continue high-level coordination and consultation, in light of their distinguished and fraternal ties. His Majesty asked to convey his greetings to President Sisi. The meeting tackled a number of regional issues and files, especially the Palestinian cause, and the overall regional situation,” Hafez said.

During the Arab meeting, the foreign ministers rejected violating the Egyptian and Sudanese historic rights of the Nile Water, saying that Egyptian and Sudanese water security is an integral part of the Arab national security.

The foreign ministers affirmed their rejection of the Ethiopian move of filling the dam’s reservoir without reaching a final agreement with Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia had announced that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries.

The Ethiopian announcement came in response to the American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement among Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

On March 1, 2020, Egypt slammed the Ethiopian Government after the latter criticized the final round of U.S.and WB-brokered negotiations on the GERD.

In a joint statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Egyptian government expressed unease over a statement issued by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Irrigation and Energy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in which Ethiopia announced that it will fill the GERD’s reservoir, despite the U.S. warning against taking action without an agreement with the downstream countries.

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.

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3/8/2020 3:47:51 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament initially approves bill on amending anti-money laundering law]]>
On February 25, Abdel Aal referred the bill to the parliament's legislative and constitutional committee.

The bill comes within a framework of Egypt's membership in the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF). ]]>
3/8/2020 3:20:07 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian human rights defenders to attend adoption of UPR recommendations ]]>
The session, running from Feb. 24-March 20, will witness in the second week of March the adoption of the third Universal Periodic Review recommendations to Egypt that were outlined in November.

Egypt revived 327 recommendations, of which it noted 132 and supported the rest. The noted recommendations involve the signing of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The supported recommendations include education, economy, women and children.

Egypt’s delegation include Saeed Abdel Hafez, head of the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, Rabaha Fathy, head of the Women for Human Rights Association, and Aida Nour el-Din, head of the Women and Development Association.
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3/8/2020 2:26:23 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s FM, African ambassadors discuss file of Ethiopian dam]]>
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez said that Shoukry reviewed Egypt’s serious and sincere efforts towards reaching a just and balanced agreement that realizes the interests of the three stakeholders.

“Minister Shoukry affirmed that Egypt's commitment to exerting efforts to promote joint African action is not limited to its term as the African Union Chair, stressing that Egypt will continue to support the joint efforts exerted by African countries during its current membership in the various AU organs and mechanisms, in order to achieve the African aspirations,” Hafez said.

“Minister Shoukry indicated that Egypt's endeavors stem from the conviction that African countries are able to work together to overcome the challenges facing the continent, and achieve peace and prosperity for all African peoples, activating the principle of 'African solutions to African problems'," he added.

In an interview with the Egyptian TV Program "9 O'clock PM", Shoukry described the recent Ethiopian statements regarding filling the Renaissance Dam as politically and legally unacceptable as well as surprising.

Ethiopia had announced that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries.

The Ethiopian announcement came in response to the American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

On March 1, 2020, Egypt slammed the Ethiopian government after the latter criticized the final round of U.S., WB-brokered negotiations on the GERD.

In a joint statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Egyptian government expressed its unease over the statement issued by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Irrigation and Energy, in which Ethiopia announced that it will fill the GERD’s reservoir despite the U.S. warning of taking action without an agreement with the downstream countries.

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.

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3/8/2020 1:39:17 PM
<![CDATA[Sudan voices reservation over Arab FMs’ draft resolution on GERD]]>
"Drafted by Egypt, the resolution has been submitted to the council,welcomed and agreed upon by the Sudanese delegation ahead of the153rdsession of the Arab foreign ministers' ministerial council," anonymous sources told MENA.

The sources added that Sudan expressed its reservation on the draft resolution as it contradicts with its interests, adding that Sudan’s representatives asked to not put Sudan in the draft resolution. “The Arab league should not be involved in this file,” the Sudanese side was quoted as saying by the news agency.

"The attending delegations were surprised by the Sudanese stance," the sources said, noting that the draft resolution turned to focus on Egypt only.

During the session, the foreign ministers rejected violating the Egyptian and Sudanese historic rights of the Nile Water, saying that Egyptian and Sudanese water security is an integral part of the Arab national security.

The foreign ministers affirmed their rejection of the Ethiopian move of filling the dam’s reservoir without reaching a final agreement among the three Nile basin countries.

Foreign Minister SamehShoukry described the recent Ethiopian statements regarding filling the Renaissance Dam as politically and legally unacceptable as well as surprising.

Ethiopia had announced that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries.

The Ethiopian announcement came in response to the American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

On March 1, 2020, Egypt slammed the Ethiopian government after the latter criticized the final round of U.S.andWB-brokered negotiations on the GERD.

In a joint statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Egyptian government expresseduneaseover a statement issued by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Irrigation and Energy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in which Ethiopia announced that it will fill the GERD’s reservoir despite the U.S. warning of taking action without an agreement with the downstream countries.

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.

]]>
3/8/2020 1:00:29 PM
<![CDATA[117 fatalities among Syrian mercenaries in Libya]]>
Those belong to al-Mu’tasim Division, Sultan Murad, Suqur Al-Shamal Brigade, Al-Hamzat and Suleiman Shah, and their bodies were taken to Al-Mashtal Sanitarium, Qaddour Sanitarium, Ghout Al-Sha’al Sanitarium.

The number of Syrian militants who arrived in “Tripoli” until present recorded nearly 4,750 while around 1,900 others are receiving training in Turkey. SOHR also revealed that nearly 150 of such mercenaries left Libya to Europe.

The recruitment pool is Afrin, areas under control of “Euphrates Shield” factions and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES). Turkey had targeted recruiting 6,000 mercenaries, and was able to attract more than that number. Yet, recruitment is still ongoing.

On March 4, the LNA shelled Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport used by Turkey to fly drones targeting concentrations of the Libyan Armed Forces. As reported by The Libya Observer, the shelling damaged the air traffic control tower, some of the airport's facilities and the runway. As a consequence, all flights were redirected to Misrata Airport.

The day before, the LNA announced targeting the Turkish Air defense platforms in the airport where Turkey started building a military base. Later in February, the Libyan Armed Forces declared taking control over Al Aziziyah town southern Tripoli after clashes with the militias protecting the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is an interim UN-recognized government.

On February 27, seven Turkish soldiers were killed in Mitiga International Airport by LNA.

Turkey has been backing Tripoli militias after it had signed two MoUs with GNA in December to achieve cooperation in the sectors of defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.
]]>
3/7/2020 3:56:11 PM
<![CDATA[Ceasefire declared between Syria, Turkey in Idlib crumbles]]>
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 15 were killed in clashes between the Syrian Armed Forces and militants on Friday.

SOHR also revealed that no less than 150 Turkish military vehicles entered Syria on February 5-6, and that a new column entered Syria on Saturday through Kafr Lusain crossing.

March 5

Militants launched attacks on Saraqeb, Dadikh, and their surroundings but the Syrian Arab Army repelled them.

The Russian and Turkish presidents agreed to create a six-kilometer safe pathway on the M4 highway connecting Damascus and Aleppo.

However, the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced on Friday killing 21 Syrian soldiers and destroying four artilleries using a drone out of revenge as two Turkish soldiers were killed and three others were injured in attacks by the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib.

March 4

The Syrian Air Defense shot down hostile targets launched from Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in the sky of Quneitra Governorate. In parallel, fighter jets hit Homs governorate from Lebanon’s Bekaa’s airspace after taking off from Northern Israel, as reported by Sputnik.

The Syrian Air Defense had repelled on February 23 two waves of missile attacks that were launched by Israel while the Syrian Armed Forces were advancing in Idlib’s Jabal al-Zawya, which is the stronghold of Nusra Front.

The Syrian Arab Army restored control over a number of villages surrounding Saraqeb.

A terrorist group of 15 elements fired chemical explosives to cripple the advance of the Syrian Arab Army western Saraqib and fabricate the charge against the Syrian government but due to their lack of experience, they failed and got poisoned.

SOHR reported that nine Syrian soldiers were killed in a Turkish raid executed by a drone on Saraqeb.

Two Turkish soldiers were killed and six others were injured in attacks by the Syrian Arab Army.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stated that the next destination of the Syrian Arab Army after the liberation of Idlib is Eastern Euphrates.

March 3

Four Turkish soldiers were killed and seven others were killed in a missile strike by the Syrian Arab Army on Turkish concentrations western Tarnaba and Mastouma Military Base in Idlib.

Syrian Arab Army restores Saraqeb from Turkey-backed militants

CAIRO - 2 March 2020: The Syrian Arab Army restored control over Saraqeb early on Monday after they had targeted Turkish artillery batteries near Qomainas as they were used to hit the Syrian Armed Forces concentrations. Russian Military Police were deployed in Sarqeb southern Idlib to ensure the security and traffic flow on the M4 and M5 highways.




The United Nations estimate that 700,000 civilians are fleeing violence in Idlib. In February, the Syrian Armed Forces were able to restore control over dozens of villages and towns in the countryside of Idlib, Aleppo, and Latakia as well as the M4 and M5 highways connecting those governorates together and with Damascus.

Deadly engagements took place on February 27 between the Syrian Arab Army backed by Russian Air Force on one hand, and Turkey-backed militants and Turkish Troops on the other hand.

On March 1, the General Command of the Syrian Armed Forces declared banning aviation in northeastern Syria, particularly over Idlib. The statement affirmed that any jet that violates the airspace will be downed and banned from committing aggression.
]]>
3/7/2020 2:58:18 PM
<![CDATA[Trump picks Mark Meadows to be new White House chief of staff]]>
Meadows replaces acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who is being appointed the US special envoy for Northern Ireland.

Mulvaney stepped into the role in an acting capacity in early January 2019 on the departure of John F. Kelly.

Meadows will be Trump’s fourth White House chief of staff, after Mulvaney, Kelly and Reince Priebus.]]>
3/7/2020 2:49:22 PM
<![CDATA[16 Taliban militants killed, injured in failed attack in eastern Afghanistan]]>
The 201st Silab Corps said in a statement that a large group of Taliban militants attacked the Afghan Local Police (ALP) check post in Islamabad area of Alisheng district, Khaama Press News Agency reported on Saturday.

The statement added that ALP forces effectively responded to the attack before the militants could overrun the check post.

According to 201st Silab Corps, the security forces killed six Taliban militants and wounded 10 others during the clash.

The Taliban group has not commented regarding the clash so far.]]>
3/7/2020 2:47:28 PM
<![CDATA[AP backs AL rejection of Turkish interference in Arab affairs]]>
The move of the Arab foreign ministers towards denouncing the Turkish interference meets the demands of the Arab peoples and reflects a unified Arab stance in face of any Turkish threats and hostile activities, including sending troops and terrorist foreign fighters to Libya, Syria and Iraq along with supporting persons and groups seeking to destabilize Arab countries, the speaker said.

He called on the international community to take a firm action to stop the Turkish interference in the Arab affairs, adding that he is due to notify the unions of regional and Arab parliaments about the AL council resolution in order to garner support for the Arab stance in this regard. ]]>
3/7/2020 2:45:59 PM
<![CDATA[Wafd Party Head warns against spreading fake news]]>
In press remarks, Abu Shoka advised against spreading fake news to avoid intimidating
citizens and leave the opportunity for specialists and officials to provide accurate information to the public.

Abu Shoka further affirmed that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is establishing a modern country, and that he has not hesitated about any procedures or holding meetings to confront any possibility of the presence of the coronavirus.

He also called the Quality Committee for Health, which is headed by a large medical staff, to lead a full awareness campaign across the different governorates of Egypt.]]>
3/6/2020 10:50:50 AM
<![CDATA[Turkish MP under investigation for calling Erdogan "dishonorable", "traitor"]]>
CHP Deputy Chairman Engin Özkoç in a press conference on Tuesday slammed Erdogan over the previous reference to a killed Turkish soldier as a "head”.

"A person who calls a martyr a ‘head’ is dishonorable, a person who calls a martyr a ‘head’ is undignified in the Republic of Turkey. Such a person is a traitor,’’ Özkoç said.

Özkoç also accused Erdogan of being responsible for the massacre of millions of Muslims in war-torn Syria.

Within hours, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation.

Furthermore, Erdogan filed a one-million-Turkish Lira lawsuit against Özkoçhis for his “impudent remarks”, according to Erdoğan’s lawyer Hüseyin Aydın.

It is worth mentioning that a fight broke out in parliament on March 4 between AKP and CHP deputies as Özkoç was delivering his speech.

Insulting the president is a crime according to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code and carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
]]>
3/6/2020 10:14:28 AM
<![CDATA[Caught up in Sahel war, Mali villagers flee to uncertainty]]>
Today, they sleep in an abandoned school in Sevare near the regional capital Mopti, packed into two buildings among vacant lots and a dirt road.

The men live in the building to the right; the women and children in the one to the left.

Toou's residents have joined a mass of more than a million people displaced by the violence in the center of the Sahel, in particular in Mali and neighboring Burkina Faso.

"The day is fine, but in the evening, there are people everywhere: here, there, over there and there. There are 10 of us sleeping in the same room," says Housseini Karembe, 65, waving his hand over the cramped living space.

Karembe and the others left Toou on January 5 when months of tension between traditional Dogon hunters and jihadists finally reached the village, spelling its doom.

Summoned by the jihadists and ordered to leave, the entire village's population -- 400 men, women and children -- fled with almost nothing, and walked the 26 kilometers (16 miles) to Sevare through the bush and blazing sun.

Karembe sits, leaning against the wall, in an old classroom where the chalk-marked blackboard is a reminder of the children who once studied there. Beside him crackles an old radio.

"We need tents, we can't stay like this in a school," said Karembe, a marabout or village elder, who taught young people the Koran before they fled.

After escaping with little more than cooking pots, some are embarrassed about their situation.

"We have a roof over our heads and we have something to eat," said one resident. "We mustn't complain too much."

'The growing war'



Mali's war erupted in 2012 when Tuareg rebels supported by armed Islamists took over the desert north of the country. The rebels were then outmaneuvered by their Islamist allies and the French military intervened to push them back.

The conflict has since swept into the center of Mali and spilled into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger, inflaming ethnic tensions along the way.

More than 5,000 French troops, a regional G5 Sahel military cooperation deal and a UN peacekeeper mission in Mali have not been enough to contain the violence.

For Toou's 400 residents, that meant leaving their lives and homes behind.

Toou inhabitants receive coupons from the World Food Programme each month to buy food. A few pots the group use to cook sit in the school courtyard.

"These are the only objects we were able to take when we fled. Things to cook with," says Telemo Sombor Ga, 55, the brother of the village chief.

For months, Toou had been caught between the jihadists and the dozos, the traditional Dogon hunters who have united into a militia claiming to defend the population against jihadists in the absence of the state.

The dozo militia has styled itself as the bulwark against the jihadists led by Amadou Koufa, a Fulani imam who took up arms in 2015 and trained hundreds of young people under the banner of Al-Qaeda.

Direct clashes, sporadic in the past, have become more frequent. Before, jihadists often passed through Toou to preach, but "they left us alone," says Telemo Sombor Ga.

'Caught in the crossfire'



Everything changed when the dozo militiamen settled on the hill not far from Toou on September 18. From then, tensions only increased.

"We were caught in the crossfire," Ga says. "Even women could not go into the bush, no one could go out. We were stranded."

Soon the jihadists attacked the dozo camp on motorcycles and shots echoed from the hill. In Toou, residents hoped to stay out of the conflict.

But the jihadists later descended on the village, telling residents to leave.

"Toou no longer exists today," said one old man.

In the school, a semblance of life has resumed. Dozens of children run around playing, the women are busy around the pots. But all wonder about their future.

"We feel foreign here," says Aminata Karembe, 18, granddaughter of the marabout. She followed his Koranic education, dreaming of continuing in the family business one day.

"For now, it's a wasted dream."]]>
3/6/2020 9:55:32 AM
<![CDATA[Lebanon suspends asset freeze on 20 banks]]>
The order was postponed to allow for the "study of its impact on the national currency, banking transactions as well as on the money of savers and economic security", Ghassan Oueidat said Thursday according to a statement carried by the National News Agency.

"Such a measure would likely drag the country and its financial sector into chaos."

Lebanon has been gripped by mass protests against the political class and banking sector even as it suffers its worst economic crisis in decades.

Banks have imposed increasingly tight limits on dollar withdrawals and transfers abroad as part of measures to tackle a severe liquidity crisis.

But bankers stand accused of having sent millions of dollars abroad despite those limitations.

On Monday the prosecutor separately called in 15 banks over more than 2 billion dollars in capital flight despite the restrictions in the two months after the start of the protests.

The value of the Lebanese pound has plummeted on the black market, prices have risen, and many businesses have been forced to slash salaries, dismiss staff or close.

Lebanon is one of the most indebted countries in the world, with a public debt equivalent to 150 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).

The country is now under pressure to pay a $1.2-billion Eurobond maturing on March 9, with a decision expected on Saturday on whether or not to default.]]>
3/6/2020 9:50:29 AM
<![CDATA[Establishment of AU reconstruction center in Egypt turning point: Advisor]]>
Ambassador Negm is the first Egyptian to serve as legal adviser of the African Union. Within the framework of the official duties of this high-level post, she was able to play an important role in the consolidation of the historic Pan-African Free Trade Agreement, hailed by the Heads of State and Government and by the experts for its positive impact on trade.

The center should serve as a platform for comprehensive coordination to help countries emerging from conflicts, Negm told a seminar on the AU's efforts to face challenges, which kicked off here earlier today.

She added that the center will be operative soon, noting that an agreement was already signed in Egypt's Aswan.

The structure of the center was endorsed during the last summit in the Upper Egyptian city in February, Negm said.

Egypt, South Sudan, Nigeria, Morocco, and Algeria are the largest contributors as they form 60 percent of the AU's budget, besides Angola that was recently added to the list, Negm said in February last year.

In December 2018, Egypt’s Ministry of Youth and Sports opened Africa Summer School 2063 in central Cairo’s Gezira Island, in the presence of Namira Negm, the African Union Legal Counsel.

This school is the first concrete implementation on the ground of the recommendations of World Youth Forum, the aspirations of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the mechanisms of African Youth Charter and finally, the foundation of international relations of Egypt’s Vision 2030.

Africa Summer School 2063 is one of the projects of the fourth edition of the African Awareness Program, sponsored this year, from a technical standpoint, by the Panafrican Youth Union, the African Peer Review Mechanism Program in South Africa and the African Graduate School, as an academic partner, one of the oldest academic institutions specializing in African affairs in Egypt and the Middle East.


MENA contributed to the reporting.]]>
3/5/2020 4:53:21 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s FM Shoukry, Omani counterpart refuse interventions in region]]>
According to the ministry’s spokesperson Ahmed Hafez, the two minsters highlighted the close relations between the two countries and discussed ways of boosting the bilateral cooperation during the coming period.

Hafez stated that Shoukry stressed Egypt's support for the security and stability of the Arab Gulf states as part of the Egyptian and Arab national security, and asserted Egypt's disapproval of interventions in the affairs of Arab countries and allowing these interventions to negatively affect the security and stability of the region.

Hafez pointed out that the meeting also tackled a number of regional issues, including the developments in Palestine, Libya and Syria.
]]>
3/5/2020 11:24:29 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian FM, UN special envoy discuss Syrian crisis]]>
Shoukry stressed the need to proceed with the political process, according to the United Nations Security Council resolution no. 2254, to restore security and stability in the war-torn country, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said in a statement.

During the meeting, Shoukry reviewed the Egyptian position regarding the developments of the Syrian situation, and highlighted the importance of the UN envoy’s efforts.

He also affirmed the need to work on combating terrorism and extremist organizations in Syria, and to address the danger of the infiltration of foreign fighters from their areas of presence, including the movement of some Syrian factions to Libya.

For his part, the UN envoy reviewed with Shoukry the outcome of his recent efforts that aim at pushing forward peaceful settlement for the crisis.

He also appreciated the balanced Egyptian role in communicating with the various Syrian and regional parties, with the aim of achieving convergence of views with regard to the Syrian crisis.]]>
3/5/2020 1:50:28 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi lauds unity gov’t formation in Juba as he meets S. Sudan’s VP]]>
In February, South Sudan’s rival leaders; President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar formed a coalition government, in an effort to end a longstanding conflict that killed hundreds of thousands people. Machar was sworn in as Kiir’s deputy.

During the meeting, which was also attended by chief of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel, Sisi praised the bilateral relations with South Sudan and affirmed Egypt’s keenness to strengthen these ties and foster coordination on the regional and international levels, with the aim of enhancing efforts to achieve security and stability in South Sudan, Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.

Sisi praised Kiir’s announcement, along with Machar, of the intention to start forming the national unity government in implementation of the decisions of the peace agreement.

For his part, Igga expressed his country's great appreciation for the Egyptian people and leadership, and hailed the continuous development of bilateral relations between Egypt and South Sudan.

During the meeting, Igga reviewed the latest developments of the political situation in South Sudan, praising in this regard the role of Egypt in backing stability in the region and in his sisterly country.

The two leaders also discussed developments of a number of regional issues of common interest, the spokesman said, without revealing further details about the topics.

In July, 2011, South Sudan declared independence in line with a January referendum that was the culmination of a 2005 peace deal ending decades of civil war with the north. In the same month, Egypt formally announced recognizing the country, MENA news agency reported.

In May 2018, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry accompanied South Salva Kiir, on behalf of the Egyptian president, in the inauguration session of the meeting of the National Liberation Council of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Juba.

"The Egyptian participation comes in the framework of continued efforts to achieve peace and stability in South Sudan, as Egypt has voiced support for Kiir's initiative to establish a committee to facilitate the national dialogue," Ahmed Abu Zeid, then Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

Abu Zeid said that the invitation reflects the deep relations between Egypt and South Sudan.

With the aim of achieving reunification of the party, the Arusha Agreement was signed by three conflicting factions of the SPLM party in January 2015 in Tanzania. Since 2013, the ruling party in South Sudan, SPLM, has witnessed many conflicts and differences amongst its main leaders and ranks.]]>
3/4/2020 10:32:32 PM
<![CDATA[Video reveals terrorist militia's conscription of African workers in Libya]]>
Previously, the Libyan army arrested several African workers who admitted their involvement with Al-Wefaq Government to fight with Sarraj's militias.



The video showed the Libyan army's investigation with a number of these African workers, revealing information on how they entered Libya, who helped them, and their role in those armed militias.

Another report, presented by the Qatari opposition channel, added that the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to control Tripoli, through the Brotherhood militias funded by Turkey and Qatar, which is considered a new Brotherhood maneuver aimed at controlling the capital and excluding Saraj's militias.

The report also emphasized that such plots are not new. The Muslim Brotherhood has practiced for years all kinds of crimes, such as assassination, kidnapping, extortion, looting, pillage and destruction, to thwart all attempts to find a political solution.]]>
3/4/2020 1:24:18 PM
<![CDATA[FM reiterates Egypt's support for Tunisia in face of terrorism]]>
Shoukry, during talks with Tunisian Foreign Affairs Minister Noureddine Erray, said Egypt backs all measures taken by the Tunisian leadership to achieve security across the country.

Talks come ahead of the 153rd ministerial meeting of Arab League Council.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said that Shoukry greeted the Tunisian minister on the occasion of the formation of the new Tunisian government.

Shoukry hoped bilateral relations would be further developed within the coming period.

The two sides tackled the latest regional developments, especially in Libya and Syria.]]>
3/4/2020 11:46:18 AM
<![CDATA[Ethiopian statements about filling Renaissance Dam unacceptable: FM]]>
He explained during an interview with the Egyptian TV Program "9 O'clock PM" on Monday that Egypt hoped to use this agreement to consolidate relations with Ethiopia.

Ethiopia had announced that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries.

The Ethiopian announcement came in response to the American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuch in had said previously that the US will remain engaged with the three countries, until an agreement is signed to end years of differences over the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Shoukry also said that Ethiopia's failure to attend the last US tour is a detriment to the negotiation process over the Renaissance Dam.

Commenting on the last Ethiopian statement, he said, "This agreement was signed by Ethiopia, and therefore it is legally bound by its provisions.Ethiopia's ownership of the dam does not allow it to renounce a legal obligation, nor will it allow Ethiopia to control the lifeline."

Shoukry added that the river crosses many countries and cannot be turned into a tangible property of a certain country, as this violates the international law.]]>
3/3/2020 1:48:14 PM
<![CDATA[FM: Turkish intervention makes Libya center for terrorists]]>
He also added that Egypt and the international community trusted UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salama, to deal with the matter but he did not produce positive results.

The minister explained that the international community put its confidence in the UN envoy to reach a Libyan reconciliation, to reconstruct the Libyan institutions and the Presidential Council in accordance with the outputs of the Skhirat Agreement,eliminate terrorism, preserve the unity of the Libyan lands, and achieve stability.

He pointed out that Egypt is exerting great efforts to reach a suitable solution to the Libyan crisis, to preserve the national security of Libya and the neighboring countries.
]]>
3/3/2020 12:34:08 PM
<![CDATA[Austrian National Council president hails Egypt’s counter-terrorism efforts]]>
Sobotka expressed Austria’s keenness to benefit from the Egyptian experience in reforming religious discourse and from the experience of Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top religious authority, in this regard.

During the meeting, President Sisi affirmed the need to enhance cooperation between Egypt and Austria at the economic and trade levels, through exchanging experiences and visits.

Sobotka, for his part, stressed Austria’s keenness to foster partnership between both countries in various fields and voiced support to Egypt in achieving comprehensive development.

The meeting discussed latest developments in the Middle East as well as regional crises, especially Libya. In this regard, Sisi and Sobotka agreed on the need of commitment to the outcomes of the Berlin conference, to achieve a comprehensive political settlement to the issue.

Sobotka called for consolidation of the international community to eradicate terrorism, extremist thought and illegal immigration.

He hailed Egypt’s comprehensive framework for combating terrorism, through the military and security solutions, along with achieving development and providing all forms of dignified life.

President Sisi reviwed with the Austrian lawmaker the efforts made by Egypt at all levels to counter terrorism as a global phenomenon, including establishing the culture of accepting others as well as religious freedom. ]]>
3/2/2020 6:40:26 PM
<![CDATA[Syrian Arab Army restores Saraqeb from Turkey-backed militants]]>
Russian Military Police were deployed in Sarqeb southern Idlib to ensure the security and traffic flow on the M4 and M5 highways.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that Turkey is sending further munitions to militants in Idlib. As reported by Sputnik, military reinforcements were brought by the Syrian Arab Army on Sunday in the southern and eastern countrysides of Idlib.

Operations by the Syrian Armed Forces stopped for around five days but resumed on Monday in Jabal al-Zawyah district in the southern countryside of Idlib. The Syrian army recovered Hizareen and Al Dar Al Kabera from militants affiliated to Ansar Al Tawhid, Ansar Al Sham, and Turkistan Islamic Party. The two villages were occupied by militants backed by Turkey two days ago.

The operations were preceded by heavy strikes launched by Syrian and Russian aircrafts on the defensive structures of militants extending from Kansafra, Al Bara, and Ehsim to Jisr al-Shughur, the stronghold of Uighurs in Syria.

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria warned that Russia will no longer be able to guarantee the safety of Turkish aircrafts in Syria.

Turkey had called upon Russia to withdraw from Syria for the latter to respond that its presence is legitimate and based on request of the Syrian government.

Field sources told Sputnik that the pilots of two Syrian fighter jets survived the targeting of their aircrafts in Saraqib. The jets were hit by Turkish missiles as they were executing operations against Qaeda militants.

The Turkish army announced on Sunday targeting Nayrab Military Airport located in Aleppo putting it out of service as part of the “Spring Shield Operation” launched against the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib earlier on March 1.

On the other hand, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that the Syrian Arab Army downed four Turkish drones on Sunday in the southeastern countryside of Idlib.

Earlier on Sunday, the General Command of the Syrian Armed Forces declared banning aviation in northeastern Syria, particularly over Idlib. The statement affirmed that any jet that violates the airspace will be downed and banned from committing aggression.

Deadly engagements took place on February 27 between the Syrian Arab Army backed by Russian Air Force on one hand, and Turkey-backed militants and Turkish Troops on the other hand.

In February, the Syrian Armed Forces were able to restore control over dozens of villages and towns in the countryside of Idlib, Aleppo, and Latakia as well as the M4 and M5 highways connecting those governorates together and with Damascus.
]]>
3/2/2020 5:03:47 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, French minister of armed forces confirm close military cooperation]]>
Sisi expressed Egypt's aspiration to develop the bilateral cooperation in the coming period, in addition to intensifying the bilateral coordination and consultation on issues and challenges of common concern and ways to deal with them.

This came during Sisi’s meeting on Monday with Florence Barley, the French minister of armed forces, in the presence of Minister of Defense and Military Production Mohamed Zaki, as well as the French ambassador to Cairo.

According to a statement released by presidency spokesman Bassam Rady, the president welcomed the French minister in Cairo, and sent his best regards to French President Emmanuel Macron.

For her part, Barley conveyed the greetings of President Macron to Sisi, stressing the importance that France attaches to enhancing coordination and strengthening the existing partnership between the two countries at all levels, including the military and security levels, especially in light of Egypt's efforts to support security and stability in the Middle East and Africa.

The spokesman added that the meeting discussed ways to enhance military cooperation between the two countries; also,the two sides exchanged views regarding the developments in the regional files and tackled the joint efforts to reach political settlements for various existing crises in the region.
]]>
3/2/2020 4:10:29 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan embassy in Syria to re-open March 3 after 8-year shutdown]]>
The reopening ceremony will be held by a delegation of the Tobruk-based interim government eastern Libya as well as a Syrian delegation.

Libya, Syria sign MoU to stand against 'Turkish aggression'

CAIRO - 1 March 2020: The Syrian government and the interim government based in Libya's Tobruk signed on Sunday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for each to open the headquarters of its diplomatic missions at the other country and coordinate stances in international forums, particularly against Turkish aggression.




The Syrian government and the interim government based in Libya’s Tobruk signed on Sunday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for each to open the headquarters of its diplomatic missions at the other country and coordinate stances in international forums, particularly against Turkish aggression.

As reported by Russia Today, the MoU was signed in a meeting between Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Maalem and a Libyan delegation chaired by Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Abdel Rahman and al-Ahrash and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdel Hady Howeigy.
]]>
3/2/2020 1:49:56 PM
<![CDATA[Prisoners conscripted to fight in Tripoli militias ranks: LNA]]>
LNA Spokesperson Ahmed al-Mesmary explained that those inmates were promised of getting released and having their sentences reduced describing Juwaily as “terrorist” and “oil smuggler.”

The LNA downed six Turkish drones western the country on Sunday as they were attempting to hit military concentrations. On February 26, seven Turkish soldiers were killed in an LNA offensive against Mitiga airport.

The airport is under the control of militias protecting the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which is an interim not elected government that is, yet, recognized by the United Nations.

Head of the Mobilization Department at the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khaled al-Mahgoub told Russia Today that the number of Turkish military personnel killed in Libya by the Armed Forces is 16 until February 23, while that of mercenaries brought by the Middle Eastern state is 105.

Sources told Al Arabiya that an LNA shelling of Tripoli seaport killed three Turkish commanders. On February 18, the LNA had targeted a Turkish ship carrying weapons and ammunition while docked at the port, and a hanger where arms brought by Turkey are stored. The hanger was located in Tripoli seaport as well.

Turkey has been backing Tripoli militias after it had signed two MoUs with GNA in December to achieve cooperation in the sectors of defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.]]>
3/2/2020 1:38:31 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt slams Ethiopia for Renaissance dam remarks]]>
In a joint statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Egyptian government expressed its resentment over

statement

issued on Saturday from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation and Energy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in which Ethiopia announced that it will fill the GERD’s reservoir despite the U.S. warning of taking action without an agreement with the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.

Egypt said it totally rejected Ethiopia’s announcement of filling the Renaissance dam’s reservoir in parallel with the construction of the dam, saying “Ethiopia violates the article No. 5 of the 2015 Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that all three countries shall reach an agreement on the rules of filling and operating the dam before starting the process of filling the reservoir with water.”

Egypt added in its statement that Ethiopia’s absence in the Washington-held meetings aimed at hampering the course of negotiations, adding that the Ethiopian latest remarks "included fallacies, distorted the facts, and showed Ethiopia’s clear repudiation of its commitments to the 2015 Declaration of Principles.”

“What has been reached in the recent round of Washington meetings came due to Ethiopia's deliberate absence and is fully consistent with the international law, said Egypt, adding that what has been reached in the meetings represents a fair and balanced compromise drawn from intensive negotiations rounds between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the past four months in Washington.

The deal reached in Washington represents a solution to the outstanding issues if Ethiopia has a good intention of not causing harm to the Egyptian interests, Egypt continued, saying that violations of the international laws and the Declaration of Principles are impermissible under Ethiopia’s ownership of the dam.

On Friday evening, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it has unilaterally initialed the deal, saying “In light of the fact that this agreement preserves Egypt’s water interests and ensures that it is not subjected to significant harm, Egypt has initialed this agreement as an affirmation of its serious will to achieve its objects and purposes.”

Only Egypt and Sudan participated in the final round of US,WB-brokered meetings in Washington after Ethiopia abstained from the participation.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin praised Egypt’s move of initialing deal of the rules for filling and operating the dam, cautioning Ethiopia against testing and filling the dam without reaching an agreement.

“We appreciate the readiness of the government of Egypt to sign the agreement and its initialing of the agreement to evidence its commitment,” said Mnuchin in a statement, adding “consistent with the principles set out in the DOP, and in particular the principles of not causing significant harm to downstream countries, final testing and filling should not take place without an agreement.

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.
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3/1/2020 7:35:00 PM
<![CDATA[Libya, Syria sign MoU to stand against 'Turkish aggression']]>
As reported by Russia Today, the MoU was signed in a meeting between Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Maalem and a Libyan delegation chaired by Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Abdel Rahman and al-Ahrash and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdel Hady Howeigy.

In a similar context, field sources told Sputnik that the pilots of two Syrian fighter jets survived the targeting of their aircrafts in Saraqib, located in the eastern countryside of Idlib. The jets were hit by Turkish missiles as they were executing operations against Qaeda militants.

Furthermore, the Turkish army announced on Sunday targeting Nayrab Military Airport located in Aleppo putting it out of service as part of the “Spring Shield Operation” launched against the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib earlier on March 1.

On the other hand, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that the Syrian Arab Army downed four Turkish drones on Sunday in the southeastern countryside of Idlib.

Earlier on Sunday, the General Command of the Syrian Armed Forces declared banning aviation in northeastern Syria, particularly over Idlib. The statement affirmed that any jet that violates the airspace will be downed and banned from committing aggression.

Deadly engagements took place on February 27 between the Syrian Arab Army backed by Russian Air Force on one hand, and Turkey-backed militants and Turkish Troops on the other hand.

In February, the Syrian Armed Forces were able to restore control over dozens of villages and towns in the countryside of Idlib, Aleppo, and Latakia as well as the M4 and M5 highways connecting those governorates together and with Damascus.

Uncertainty over number of casualties in Idlib's engagements

CAIRO - 29 February 2020: Turkish opposition platforms reported according to military sources that the number of soldiers killed in Syria's Idlib since February 27 recorded 200 while that of the injured is 70-80.




On February 27, seven Turkish soldiers were killed in Mitiga International Airport in an attack by the Libyan National Army (LNA). The airport is under the control of militias protecting the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which is an interim not elected government that is, yet, recognized by the United Nations.

Turkey has been backing Tripoli militias after it had signed two MoUs with GNA in December to achieve cooperation in the sectors of defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.
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3/1/2020 4:50:06 PM
<![CDATA[Final verdict in Ansar Beit Al Maqdes case to be issued Monday]]>
The court will be headed by Judge Hassan Mahmoud Farid along with two of court advisers Khaled Hamad and Baher Bahaa Eldin.

As many as 208 defendants are facing charges of committing 54 terrorist crimes including assassination of police officers, assassination attempt of former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim, carrying out attacks against security facilities in a number of governorates including Cairo, Daqahliya and South Sinai.

All defendants face charges of “establishing, leading and joining a terrorist group, assaulting citizens’ rights and freedoms, harming national unity and societal peace, spying for the Palestinian Hamas Movement, vandalizing state institutions, murder and possession of automatic weapons, ammunition and explosives.”

The defendants are also accused of complicity in an attempt on former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim’s life in September 2013.]]>
3/1/2020 2:30:48 PM
<![CDATA[Migrants flock to Greece as Turkey opens floodgates]]>
At least 500 people had arrived by sea on three Greek islands close to the Turkish coast within a few hours on Sunday morning. Seven boatloads reached Lesbos with more than 300 on board, four arrived on Samos with 150 and two on Chios with a combined total of 70-80 people, a police official said.

On the mainland further north, groups waded across a river to the Greek side at Kastanies. Reuters reporters saw groups of up to 30 people, including an Afghan mother with a five-day old infant, on the side of a road, having crossed the river hours earlier.

Turkey said on Thursday it would no longer restrain hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers in its territory from reaching Europe despite an agreement to do so reached with the EU in 2016. Its announcement triggered an almost instant rush to the borders it shares with European Union member Greece.

Turkey’s turnabout came after an air strike killed 33 Turkish soldiers in neighboring northwest Syria where Ankara has deployed forces to help secure its border against a new influx of refugees from the Syrian civil war.

Turkey has said funds promised by the EU to help it deal with 3.7 million Syrian refugees already in the country has been slow to arrive; Ankara had threatened several times in the past to open the floodgates if it did not receive more support.

Tensions rose at Kastanies, on northeast Greece’s mainland border with Turkey, on Saturday after riot police used tear gas to repel hundreds of migrants on the Turkish side seeking entry.

A Greek government source put the number of people gathered on the border on Sunday at 3,000, while the International Organization for Migration estimated the number at 13,000.

STONE-THROWING ALONG TENSE BORDER

Some migrants threw stones and metal bars toward the Greek side as well as hand-held tear gas canisters, the Greek government source said. Journalists were kept one kilometer (mile) back from the Greek border crossing.

“Yesterday there were 9,600 attempts to violate our borders, and all were dealt with successfully,” deputy defense minister Alkiviadis Stefanis told Greece’s Skai TV.

Greece has said there was an orchestrated attempt on its borders, and has accused Turkey of actively guiding migrants.

“Not only are they not stopping them, but they are helping them,” Stefanis told Skai.

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The European Union said it was supporting Greece and its neighbor Bulgaria, which also has a border with Turkey - in protecting the 27-nation bloc’s outer frontiers.

It also gave condolences to Turkey over the deadly air strike and said it was ready to step up humanitarian support.

No migrants had so far tried to cross into Bulgaria from Turkey, but tensions were escalating at Turkish-Greek crossing points “very close” to Bulgarian territory, therefore Sofia had bolstered its own frontier patrols against any illegal entry, Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov told national radio.

Greece was the main gateway for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers into Europe in 2015 and 2016. There are already more than 40,000 migrants on the Aegean islands, living in severely overcrowded camps and filthy conditions.

Last week, clashes broke out on Lesbos between riot police and locals protesting over a plan to create closed detention centers to house the migrant population. Locals say the islands are suffering a disproportionate burden.

Greece has vowed to prevent another mass influx of migrants. “This country is not a free-for-all,” Migration Minister Notis Mittarachi told Greece’s Ant1 TV.

Reuters witnesses saw small groups of people making their way across fields outside the Greek town of Orestiada, close to the mainland frontier, over the weekend. Four young Afghans, looking exhausted, sat around a small campfire.

Further along, Najibe Rezayi, 26, also from Afghanistan, cradled her seven-month daughter in her arms. “We want a place to stay, food, warmth,” she said through an interpreter as they walked through mist in frost-covered fields.

Greek police and the army have been arresting people who attempt to cross into the country. “They are all Afghans, no Syrians,” one army officer said. “Are these the Syrians (Turkish President Tayyip) Erdogan was talking about?”

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3/1/2020 1:32:47 PM
<![CDATA[Uncertainty over number of casualties in Idlib’s engagements]]>
By contrast, Turkish authorities announced that the figure of the death toll in the airstrikes launched Thursday by the Syrian Arab Army is just 36 while that of the injured is around 30.

On the other hand, Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan said in a press conference Saturday that 2,000 Syrian soldiers were killed in revenge while 49 tanks, 17 armored vehicles, and 300 vehicles were destroyed. Erdogan added that his country’s troops would not withdraw from the country.

Nevertheless, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reports that fatalities among the ranks of the Syrian Armed Forces are just 48, including 11 officers, in addition to 14 Hezbollah members and leaders. The observatory estimates the number of vehicles destroyed as 13.

February 27

The Syrian Arab Army’s special forces carried out operations against Ansar al-Sham and Ajnad al-Kavkaz terror groups in Saraqeb city located in the eastern countryside of Idlib. The attack succeeded a heavy firing by the Syrian Air Defense Force, and Syrian-Russian airstrikes on militants’ defensive structures.

The Syrian Armed Forces restored three villages/towns in the northwestern countryside of Hama from militants affiliated to the National Front for Liberation backed by Turkey, Ansar al-Sham, and Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al-Tawhid. The Syrian Armed Forces have been attempting to enter Kastoun town western Hama, which is the stronghold of Ansar al-Tawhid and Uighurs fighting in Syria.

A Syrian military source told Sputnik that reinforcements reached Turkey-backed militants in the axes of engagements through the Western part of Saraqib. The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria announced on Thursday that Turkey continued to back militants by firing artillery and piloting drones.

Russia 24 reported that Turkish troops in Idlib struck concentrations of the Syrian Arab Army and targeted Syrian and Russian fighter jets using anti-aircraft guns.

The news channel added that battles between the Syrian Armed Forces and militants took place near Saraqeb as the latter were trying to occupy the intersection of M5 highway connecting Damascus and Aleppo, and M4 highway connecting Aleppo and Latakia.

Engagements also occurred near Al Nayrab controlled by militants, Gobas, and San. Clashes are precisely fierce in Gobas where the Syrian Arab Army lost many vehicles because of Turkish strikes.

The Russian Ministry of Defense declared on Friday that militants affiliated to the terror group Ansar al-Sham in Idlib’s de-escalation zone struck concentrations of the Syrian Arab Army on February 27.

The ministry added that Turkish soldiers hit by the Syrian Arab Army were located among militants clarifying that Russian aircrafts did not strike the locations of Turkish troops in Idlib.

The ministry added that Turkey did not inform the Russian army that Turkish troops were stationed in Idlib. As reported by Al Arabiya on Friday, Turkey requested an immediate ceasefire from Russia.

On February 28, Russian Frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Grigorovich - carrying Kalibr-Nk missile complexes - sailed from the Black Sea to the Mediterrenean through Bosphorus Strait.

February 29

SOHR revealed that militants regained control over villages/towns in Idlib and Hama amid clashes and shelling that gave rise to 23 casualties among the Syrian Armed Forces and 31 militants, and dozens of injuries among both sides. The seven villages/towns are Kafr Aweed, Sofohin, Qaqfin, Al-Daqmaq, Al-Zaqom, Qolaydin and Al-Haloubeh.

SOHR observed that Russian jets targeted Kafr Nooran and Al-Atareb in Aleppo’s countryside, and Sarmin, Saraqeb, Afis and several other villages around Idlib’s Saraqeb. The number of airstrikes reached 114.

5 Turkish soldiers, 21 militants killed in Syria in 24 hours

CAIRO - 25 February 2020: Five Turkish soldiers and 11 militants were killed on Monday in raids that targeted a checkpoint located in Idlib's Kansafra village, as reported by Sky News Arabia. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed that fighter jets of the Syrian Arab Army struck the checkpoint, which is one of 12 Turkey has deployed in Syria.




Calls for Ceasefire and Political Solution

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared on Friday that a fact-finding mission is being formed to be sent to Northwestern Syria calling all parties involved to abandon escalation.

Syria’s Envoy to the United Nations Bashar al-Gaafary said in his speech at the Security Council that the presence of Turkish troops far from the 12 checkpoints deployed in the country is proof that Turkey supports terrorist groups in Syria.

Gaafary added that the Turkish regime turned the checkpoints into operations rooms that command militants.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abou al-Gheit called upon warring parties in Syria to commit to a ceasefire immediately. He warned of the impact of regional and international intervention in the country on the ascendance of military confrontations risking the peace process, and security of Syria and the region.

As indicated in a statement by the Arab League on Friday, the escalation caused the displacement of one million Syrians and the targeting of schools and hospitals.

Abou al-Ghait added that the UN Security Council has to pass a truce, and grant aid to more than three million citizens as soon as possible. The Arab League’s secretary-general also calls for a UN-sponsored political dialogue in accordance with resolution no. 2254.
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2/29/2020 7:28:43 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. praises Egypt’s moves on GERD, cautions Ethiopia against filling dam without deal ]]>
“We appreciate the readiness of the government of Egypt to sign the agreement and its initialing of the agreement to evidence its commitment,” said Mnuchin in a statement, adding “consistent with the principles set out in the DOP, and in particular the principles of not causing significant harm to downstream countries, final testing and filling should not take place without an agreement.

On Friday evening, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it has unilaterally initialed the deal, saying “In light of the fact that this agreement preserves Egypt’s water interests and ensures that it is not subjected to significant harm, Egypt has initialed this agreement as an affirmation of its serious will to achieve its objects and purposes.”

Only Egypt and Sudan participated in the final round of US,WB-brokered meetings in Washington after Ethiopia abstained from the participation.

Ahead of the consultations, Ethiopian ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega tweeted that his country will not attend the meetings, saying that Ethiopia will not sign any agreement that would make it give up its Nile water rights.



During the two-day meetings, the Sudanese delegation asked for postponing the talks until conducting national consultations, the Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources said in a statement on Saturday, confirming the necessity of reaching a comprehensive agreement on a safe operation of the Ethiopian dam before starting filling and operating it.

Sudan affirmed its commitment to the negotiating process for reaching a comprehensive agreement on the dam that guarantees the rights and interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

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.]]>
2/29/2020 2:39:36 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt rejects Ethiopia's "unjustified" absence from GERD talks]]>
“Egypt's position during all the painstaking stages of negotiation over the past five years, which did not bear any positive results, maintained utter good faith and provided a sincere political will in reaching an agreement that meets the interests of the three countries,” a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.

“Moreover, the constructive role played by the United States and the World Bank and their sponsorship of the intensive negotiations rounds that were conducted over the past four months contributed significantly to the finalization of the agreement, which included specific rules for filling and operating the Renaissance Dam, measures to address droughts and scarce years, a coordination mechanism, a binding dispute resolution mechanism, and addressing the safety of the Renaissance Dam.

“In light of what this agreement accomplishes in preserving Egypt's water interests and ensuring that no major harm is done to it, Egypt has signed the proposed agreement in confirmation of its seriousness in achieving its goals and objectives, and therefore, Egypt is looking forward that Sudan and Ethiopia will accept this fair agreement that achieves the common interests of the three countries,” the statement added.

The statement also expressed appreciation to the role of the U.S. administration and its keenness to find a common ground between the three countries.

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Photo: U.S. State Department


The ministry further deprecated Ethiopia’s unjustified absence from the meeting, especially during such a decisive state of negotiation.

“Egypt will continue to give this issue the greatest attention it deserves due to its national responsibility in defending the interests of the Egyptian people, their capabilities and their future by all means available,” the statement added.

Egypt, which relies on the Nile for 90% of its freshwater, has asked to slow the filling of the dam to avoid affecting its Nile water level or historic rights.

The United States has announced it will continue to work with Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan until they sign an accord on the hydropower dam, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The three countries had expected to sign an agreement in Washington this week on the filling and operation of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), but Ethiopia skipped the meeting and only Egypt has initialed the deal thus far.

In a statement released late Friday, Mnuchin said he held separate bilateral talks with key ministers from Egypt and Sudan over the past two days after Ethiopia asked for a delay in what was to be the final round of talks.

Mnuchin said he looked forward to Ethiopia concluding its internal consultations to allow a signing of the deal “at the earliest possible time”, and stressed that final testing and filling of the dam “should not take place without an agreement.”

“The United States reaffirms its commitment to remain engaged with the three countries until they sign the final agreement,” he said.]]>
2/29/2020 5:14:55 AM
<![CDATA[Qatar arbitrarily arrests Syrian cancer patient to pressure husband]]>
Rehab Bitar, a human rights campaigner and lawyer, has tweeted “a message to Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani” that demanded him to stop human rights and laws violations in his country.

Bitar clarified to Egypt Today in an interview that one of her clients is a Syrian woman who got assaulted, threatened and arrested to pressure her husband into waiving his company shares for his business partners.

“I demand the Emir of Qatar to intervene in the case of my Syrian client who got beaten, imprisoned and threatened to pressure her husband into waiving his shares to his Qatari business partners,” she said on Twitter.



The human rights advocate said her client, who is also a cancer patient, got involved in a number of lawsuits and was sentenced to house arrest, therefore, she is currently unable to receive her medications.

The client’s husband, according to Bitar, owned a motor agency with other business partners who sought to take over his company shares, so they began filing lawsuits against him until one of his lawyers conspired with them after being exonerated more than once.

She further added that a Qatari police officer and his cousin, who is said to be working at the Qatari general prosecution, assaulted her, however, a paperwork manipulation prevented her police report that she filed against them.

Bitar also provided Egypt Today with copies of some of the documents she sees somewhat safe to be published without her client getting harmed by Qatari authorities.


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2/28/2020 9:43:44 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwaiti emir's envoy heads for Cairo to offer condolences over Mubarak's death]]>
Earlier, the Kuwaiti foreign minister praised the role played by late former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in liberating Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion.

Kuwait will never forget Mubarak's role in this regard, Sheikh Ahmed said Thursday as he offered condolences for Mubarak's death at the residence of the Egyptian ambassador in Kuwait City.

Commenting on the saddening news, the Kuwaiti top diplomat told MENA correspondent here Mubarak played a distinguished role at the Arab and Islamic levels.

He hailed as "special" relations with Egypt, especially that the two countries have the same visions regarding the different regional and international issues.
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2/28/2020 5:25:15 PM
<![CDATA[INTERVIEW - Zoleka Mandela: A story of a fighter for road safety ]]>
Hit by unfortunate and even painful experiences of sexual abuse, breast cancer, alcohol and drug addiction, Zoleka Mandela, 39, opened up to Egypt Today about how she turned her life around to advocate for children’s rights in safe roads.

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Zoleka Mandela - Photo via Zoleka Mandela Foundation


“My daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 2010 shortly after her 13th birthday… and I still have to stand on a stage and speak and share this unfortunate experience of mine, and almost all our leaders and governments and international communities do not understand the size of the fatalities in their cities and countries,” said Zoleka.

Close to a decade since she lost her daughter, Zoleka has campaigned tirelessly for road safety. “I did not want for another child to lose their lives on the road.”

Zoleka advocates for safer roads in international conferences and in 2016, Zoleka was chosen as one of the BBC’s 100 Women; she is also a United Nations global ambassador on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and child health.

With Africa having the most dangerous roads, and its traffic deaths representing 21percent of the global rate, Zoleka blames public influencers of not doing enough to advice on the importance of adhering to road safety measures across the continent. So she called on African leaders to “listen to stories of those who become victims of road accidents, and to protect children on their journey to school.”

Among the top critical road safety issues is driving under the influence of drugs, where many countries are working to end the illegal practice by law and drug tests. Zoleka said she lost many years of her life to addiction, and now she is in the tenth year free from drug and alcohol dependency, as she remembers the toll of drug and alcohol abuse on herself as she experienced sexual and physical abuse.

“A family name cannot always shelter and protect you from the world and those experiences can drive people towards increasingly dangerous choices,” she added.
She established the Zoleka Mandela Foundation, through which she hopes to help those facing addiction to have access to rehabilitation facilities that are "free from huge financial implications, ill-treatment and poor conditions".

A two-time cancer survivor, Zoleka wanted to share her experiences that she saw would be an inspiration to others who share similar life challenges, so she wrote her biography “When Hope Whispers.”

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Zoleka Mandela - Photo via World Bank


“I had set out to document my personal journey with breast cancer being diagnosed at the age of 32. It was important for me to write about my personal experiences with the tragic loss of two of my children, my addiction to drugs and alcohol, and to touch on my experiences with both physical and sexual abuse as a child and adolescent - in attempt to light up the darkness in the lives of those facing similar life challenges.”

Zoleka believes the driving force behind the work of her foundation were the lessons she learned from her grandparents Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela Mandela. “They taught me that life ought to be about living beyond one self and that despite our own challenges in life, we still all have the power to make a change happen in the lives of those less fortunate than us,” she continued.

The impact of the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela on Zoleka’s life was apparent, especially with the part of caring for children. She said that her grandfather once told her, "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

That is why Zoleka believes that maintaining road safety measures should top countries’ agendas, especially in Africa, where billions of dollars are spent on new roads, but little is spent on protecting the actual people who use these roads. Road accidents are the leading cause of death for people of 5-29 years of age.

“My grandparents fought against the status quo for justice and equality, and I hope, through the Mandela name, I will never stop fighting for our children everywhere around the world,” she added.

Zoleka was a speaker at the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety that was held in Stockholm on February 19-20, as she is the global ambassador of the Child Health Initiative, and during her participation, she called on world leaders to consider an urgent action plan to protect children on the roads.
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2/27/2020 4:48:10 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt urges reversing Israeli decision to build settlements in West Bank]]>
Spokesman Ahmed Hafez denounced the decision as “contrary to international law represented in Security Council resolutions and international references on the Palestinian issue,” warning that it also undermines the chances of a peace based on a two-state solution, which represents the only solution to achieve just peace.

Hafez called on the international community to move to reverse the controversial decision.

This comes only few months after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that his country would no longer abide by 1978 State Department opinion, which call the Israeli settlements in West Bank against international law, reversing the Barack "Obama administration’s approach towards Israeli settlements.

Later in November, the Arab League stated that the US unilateral decision on legalizing the settlements in the West Bank is null and void, warning of the US decisions concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the longstanding position of the UN regarding Israeli settlements in "Occupied Palestinian Territory" – that they are in breach of international law – is unchanged, according to the UN website.

He added that the UN remains “committed to a two-State solution based on the relevant UN resolutions”.]]>
2/27/2020 2:39:53 PM
<![CDATA[Syrian Arab Army does not seek to free Idlib at present: expert]]>
Writer and Regional Affairs Journalist Hend al-Dawy builds up a holistic image of the developments on the Syrian scene.

Evaluation of the Syrian Arab Army’s Advances

“The Arab Syrian Army does not seek to free Idlib city at present to not risk the lives of civilians because militants would use them as human shields, and to not destroy the infrastructure. That is why it is moving only in the countryside of Idlib and Aleppo,” Dawy explains.

“The Syrian Arab Army targets to encircle Idlib city from Maarat Al Numan to Saraqib and Darat Izza blocking the path between the governorate and Afrin where Turkish munitions are brought. That is the first step to free Idlib city later. That has prompted Turkey to intervene directly for the first time since 2011 and not through proxies,” the regional affairs journalist elaborates.

Dawy points out that the Arab Syrian Army was also able to control the M5 highway between Damascus and Aleppo and the M4 highway between Aleppo and Latakia controlling the path between the North, South, and West of Syria.

“What is happening now is a direct engagement but not a direct war as NATO can only defend Turkey, if attacked on its soil, but not when being an aggressor on foreign soil. There will be an agreement between Turkey and Russia soon,” the writer estimates.
Dawy asserts that the Syrian Arab Army is executing the political leadership’s willpower to restore all Syrian soil from all non-government forces and foreign parties.

Speculations on the Future

“The Syrian Arab Army will keep hold of restored lands. Yet, the conflict in Syria will end by a massive war since the Syrian state wants to eliminate all foreign military presence but that war will not be between Turkey and Russia,” Dawy speculates.

“Turkey will be used to annoy the Syrian state. The U.S., French, and German forces will not leave. For them to withdraw, fierce battles must take place, particularly if the United States starts escalation against Iran next year,” the writer estimates.

Turkish Ambitions in Syria

“Militants were receiving support from several states - mainly Turkey and Qatar - that aim for different goals. The main of which are the recovery of political Islam in a state that used to stand against such project, and making Aleppo fall into ruins as it is the industrial hub of the Middle East and the main competitor of Turkey in that sector,” the writer clarifies.

“Turkey is part of the “creative chaos” project; however, it has been working on its own project,” Dawy says. The Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923 to draw the current borders of Turkey and dismantle the Ottoman Empire will expire in 2023. Hence, Turkey is now trying to revive the Milly Charter signed in 1920 by Ottoman parliamentarians providing that Turkish borders include Mosul, North Syria, and Sanjak of Alexandretta.

“Turkey did not abide by the Astana and Sochi agreements providing that militants must be segregated from moderate opposition so that civilians do not get harmed when the Syrian Arab Army enters the city,” the regional affairs journalist highlights pointing out, “After the Arab Syrian Army had captured Aleppo in 2016, the Turkish ambition in Syria - embodied in reviving the Milli Charter - technically ended.”

Turkish-Russian deliberations

“Turkey is not an ally of Russia. Turkey became an economic partner of Russia after the United States turned against it by backing the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Russia is the ally of Syria which had rejected extending a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey through its lands. Hence, Russia is now bearing its share of responsibility in the war. Turkstream launched in January between Russia and Turkey does not constitute an alliance,” the regional affairs journalist expounds.

“Turkey serves western interests in Syria and Libya turning against Russia in the latter as it will always be the ally of the United States and NATO. Nevertheless, [U.S. President Donald] Trump is penalizing [Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip] Erdogan for acquiring S-400 from Russia and for extending its gas pipelines through Turkish territories,” Dawy suggests.

The fate of Armed Groups

The liberation of territories occupied by militants resulted in their displacement to Idlib’s de-escalation zone where their number has reached between 80,000 and 100,000, as estimated by Damascus. “Those militants are foreigners as they belong to the Caucasus, European countries, and Uighur ethnicity,” the writer says.

Return of the Displaced

“Syria and Russia demanded the return of refugees but the European Union has taken them hostage to pressure the Syrian regime. The return of refugees means the country is safe and thus admitting the legitimacy of the incumbent regime,” Dawy says.

On the other hand, the presence of the Islamic State did not end because it gives legitimacy to the deployment of the Coalition forces in the country, the regional affairs journalist points out.

Impact on Libya

“When Erdogan felt he was losing ground in Syria, he intervened in Libya driven by greed to take over gas fields Eatsern Mediterranean. He has held Libya hostage. Turkey houses millions of Syrian refugees, lost soldiers and billions in the Syrian civil war, and got its economy sinking as a consequence. It is exerting pressure in Idlib and Libya for the gas but the cake will be divided among the big boys,” Dawy suggests.

“Turkey moved militants from Iraq’s Mosul and Tal Afar to Tripoli, and not just from Syria. Trump had asked France and Germany to prosecute IS militants as their imprisonment costs by the U.S forces are high. Yet, they refused and turned a blind eye to their transfer by Turkey to Libya,” the writer says.

Turkey’s actions are a breach of UNSC resolutions no. 1973 and 1970. “Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salame could request imposing a penalty upon Turkey but he did not. That reflects a western collusion. Also, a wide sector of the Pentagon and CIA still supports political Islam and aims for its restoration in Egypt, Tunisia, Alegria, and Mauritania,” the regional affairs journalist stipulates.
]]>
2/26/2020 6:32:30 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt committed to negotiations in face of Ethiopia’s absence]]>
Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez pointed out that the goal of the upcoming meeting is finalizing an agreement to fill and operate the dam. The agreement was crystalized by the United States and the World Bank in accordance with the negotiations that took place among Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan since November 6 in the U.S. capital.

Hafez declared that the Egyptian ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation will attend the meeting called upon by the U.S. administration as a sign of appreciation to its constructive role over the past months to help the three states reach the hoped for agreement.

The spokesperson added that the participation of Egypt aligns with its approach reflecting good will and honest desire to reach a final agreement on the filling and operation of GERD.

Following the final round of the meetings between the Nile Basin countries, the US and the WB representatives in Washington D.C. on February 12-13, 2020, the three countries issued a statement 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 U.S. Department of Treasury said in a statement on February 14, 2020.

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," said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement.

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]]>
2/26/2020 6:07:44 PM
<![CDATA[Why late President Sadat chose Mubarak as his deputy]]>
Heikal added in his book that Sadat was puzzled over the position of vice president after the October 6, 1973 war and that he needed a military leader who understood his policy and vision of the peace process, which was the reason behind appointing Mubarak.

Sadat noted that the October generation had five leaders: Ahmed Ismail, who had died by then;Al-Jamsi, the director of operations in the October War and the defense minister; Mohamed Ali Fahmy, the commander of air defense; Hosni Mubarak, the commander of aviation; and Naval Commander Fouad Zikra. "It must be one of them," Sadat said.

Heikal suggested that Mubarak be given a different opportunity to head a ministry of production or services, in order to understand the people's demands and needs, but Sadat refused.

When Heikal asked Sadat about the reason behind the limitation of his choices to October generation only,Sadat firmly answered, "You know that the president of this country must be a military, so warlords take precedence over others."

According to Heikal, one of the reasons why Sadat chose Mubarak was that he was born in Menoufia, the same governorate in which Sadat was born.

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A military funeral was held for former Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak who died on February 25, 2020 at the age of 91 and ruled the country for 30 years between 1981 and 2011.

Mubarak stepped down on February 11, 2011 as a consequence of January 25, 2011, and had been subject to prosecution before he was cleared of all charges.
]]>
2/26/2020 3:45:32 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Italy discuss relations]]>
Attending the meeting was Egyptian Ambassador to Italy Hisham Badr.

According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry, the two sides reviewed means of boosting bilateral relations especially at the economic and commercial levels in light of the fact that Italy is the first European trade partner of Egypt.

Also, the two sides discussed enhancing contacts between the business communities in both countries for exploring investment opportunities in Egypt for the Italian side as the Egyptian economy ranked third among the world's most growing economies.

Badr said that relations between the two countries are excellent at all levels. He confirmed that there are many investment opportunities for the Italian businessmen in Egypt. ]]>
2/26/2020 11:57:49 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s FM heads to Washington for final deal on GERD talks due on Feb. 28-29]]>
Washington will host the two-day meetings on Feb. 28-29, according to a statement from Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez o Tuesday.

Shoukry’s visit came a day after The three countries received the US draft of the final agreement on the rules of filling and operating the Dam.

In a press conference held on Monday in Khartoum, Sudanese Minister of Water Yasser Abbas announced that Washington has handed down Cairo, Khartoum, and Addis Ababa the draft on the final agreement and the three government will study it before their meeting due on Feb.28, 2020 in Washington.


Two days ago during his meeting with Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the special envoy of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, President Abdel Fatah al- Sisi affirmed Egypt’s commitment to the success of the ongoing negotiations between the three countries.

Following the final round of the three Nile Basin countries and the US and WB representatives on Feb. 12-13, the three countries announced that they reached initial agreement on some points of differences on the Dam construction.

"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 U.S. Department of Treasury said in a statement on February 14, 2020.

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," said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement.

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
]]>
2/25/2020 8:32:58 PM
<![CDATA[Leaders worldwide mourn President Hosni Mubarak]]>
The U.A.E. declared flying its flag at half-mast for one day to mourn Mubarak, recalling his "patriotic and historic" stances. Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa expressed his condolences to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Mubarak's family, highlighting his efforts in serving Egypt and the causes of the Arab and Islamic world.

Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohamed extended their "heartfelt condolences" to Sisi. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also noted Mubarak's support to the Palestinian people, mourning the president of 30 years with "great sadness and sorrow."

The Arab League said Mubarak was "a prominent military leader who played a historic role in returning Egypt's military and national dignity in the October 1973 war, and then worked with sincerity, dedication and patriotism as a president of the republic to achieve peace and development in Egypt and the Middle East. He was sincere to Arabism and the Palestinian cause and a strong supporter of the Arab League."

In an answer to a question, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extended his condolences to Mubarak's family.
]]>
2/25/2020 8:31:14 PM
<![CDATA[5 Turkish soldiers, 21 militants killed in Syria in 24 hours]]>
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed that fighter jets of the Syrian Arab Army struck the checkpoint, which is one of 12 Turkey has deployed in Syria.

In response, Turkish troops shelled concentrations of the Syrian Armed Forces in the eastern and southern countryside of Idlib. The exact sites are Sheikh Dames and Hantoneen villages western Maarat al-Numan in the southern countryside of Idlib. As a result, eight Syrian soldiers were killed.

Also, six Syrian soldiers and 10 militants were killed near Al Nayrab. Clashes between the Syrian Armed Forces and militants are ongoing on the frontline of Al-Nayrab eastern Idlib near the M4 highway connecting Damascus with Aleppo, as the former have been trying to restore the town from the latter.

For that purpose, Syrian and Russian jets struck Al-Nayrab, its surroundings and areas in Jabal al-Zawiya on Tuesday, while Turkish troops “shelled with dozens of rocket-propelled grenades regime forces' sites near Saraqeb, Dadikh, Afis and Al-Tarnabeh,” as indicated by SOHR.

On Tuesday, several strikes by the Syrian Arab Army fighter jets targeted Taftanaz military airport northeast Idlib, as it is used by Turkish forces as a base.

The observatory reported that the advances of the Syrian Armed Forces persist as, over the past 36 hours, they restored from militants the villages of Sheikh Dames, Hantoneen, Rakaya Sijneh, Tal Al Nar, Kafrsajna, Sheikh Mostafa, Al Nuqair, Satuh Al-Deir, Arinbeh, Um Sir, Maarrat Al-Sin, Jabbala, Maarrat Mater, Maar Zita, Ba’rabu, Arinbeh and Maarrat Hurmah.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on Monday that the strikes on militant sites are normal given that they target Russian and Syrian sites as well as civilian utilities. He added that the de-escalation zone in Idlib has turned into an escalation zone, and that the Russian and Turkish presidents did not agree on not responding to militants’ strikes.

Russian aircrafts hit on Monday sites in Hama and Idlib in parallel to missile strikes launched by the Syrian Arab Army. Thereby, the number of Russian airstrikes in Idlib, Aleppo, and Latakia rises to 150.

On February 17, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad congratulated Aleppo residents on freeing parts of the governorate from militants, stressing that the ongoing battle to liberate Idlib and the countryside of Aleppo governorate will continue.

The Syrian Arab Army had announced capturing tens of villages and towns in the western and northwestern countryside of Aleppo. It is worth mentioning that Aleppo city was totally liberated from militants in 2016, and that the governorate is considered the industrial capital of Syria.
]]>
2/25/2020 6:20:43 PM
<![CDATA[Human rights constitute important component of Egypt's development strategy]]>
This came during Gamal el-Din's speech at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, which is currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Gamal el-Din added that Egypt has a self-conviction of the centrality of building human beings, and a sure political will to build a state of the rule of law, as it attaches equal importance to all rights.He pointed out that the Egyptian state works with all its institutions to respect the law and constitution.

Gamal el-Din reviewed the positive steps Egypt has taken in the human rights file, referring to the human rights report submitted by Egypt in November 2019, along with the country's consultations with the National Council for Human Rights and civil society institutions

"Egypt also submitted five national reports to the committees concerned with civil and political rights, against torture, the rights of children and persons with disabilities, and against discrimination against women,"Gamal el-Dinsaid.

He notedthat President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued al law regulating civil work on July 2019 to be compatible with the international standards.The president discussed this law with more than 1,300 Egyptian and foreign organizations.

"Egypt also witnessed a qualitative shift in the realization of citizenship and non-discrimination, as well as in supporting religious freedoms, combating extremism, and spreading tolerance. This is in addition to teaching the principles of human rights and combating corruption starting from the current academic year in all colleges and higher institutes," he added.

Gamalel-Din indicated that the permanent Supreme Committee for Human Rights headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs SamehShoukryhas started preparing periodic reports and following up procedures, policies and legislation.

Gamal el-Dinstressed during his speech that Egypt is keen to drawthe attention of the Human Rights Council to many issues, including the negative effects of terrorism, the protection of the family as a basic unit of a society, the role of youth and their right to enjoy human rights.

He asserted the necessity for the council to assume its responsibilities and address the suffering of the Palestinian people and the violations they face, highlighting the council's role in promoting and protecting human rights in conflict areas such as Syria and Yemen, and its role in addressing hate speech and improving the conditions of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The assistant foreign minister for human rights concluded by noting that Egypt calls for avoiding the negative practices and the polarization that threaten the credibility and universality of the council.

]]>
2/25/2020 2:51:58 PM
<![CDATA[Profile: Egypt's fourth president Hosni Mubarak dies at 91]]>

Below is a short biography of Mubarak

He was born in May 4 in 1928 in Menoufia governorate, northern Cairo.

Before becoming president, Mubarak was the commander of the Egyptian Air Force between 1972-1975. Mubarak assumed presidency following the assassination of former President Anwar al-Sadat, who appointed him vice-president.

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Hosni Mubarak - Reuters


Mubarak was viewed as a war hero by many Egyptians, because he served as commander of the Egyptian Air Force during the October 6 War in 1973. In a recent statement, Mubarak even claimed that he was the first to fire shots at an Israeli communication base from a fighter jet that he personally piloted six minutes before the surprise attack even began.

In 14 October 1981, Mubarak was sworn in as the fourth president of Egypt, after the assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat by Islamists.

Mubarak’s reign was marked with an emergency law that gave authorities the power to conduct random arrests and heavily impeded human rights. He also expanded Egypt’s Central Security Forces and State Security Investigations Service. These tools were used to oppress political opposition, particularly Islamic fundamentalists.

Due to his stance against Islamists and his close ties with the United States, Mubarak was subject to several assassination attempts, namely one in 1995 when he was attending the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 2005, Mubarak was under pressure from the United States to encourage democracy, so he allowed for other presidential candidates to run for the post. He won by a landslide, and the runner-up, Ayman Nour, was soon imprisoned on forgery charges widely believed to have been trumped up.

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Hosni Mubarak attends a Middle East peace talks event in the East Room at the White House in Washington September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed


Prior to that, Mubarak had been re-elected three times uncontested. During his 30 years as president, he had not appointed a vice president until January 29, 2011 when he appointed former Chief of Intelligence Omar Suleiman as vice president in an attempt to appease protesters.

It was Suleiman who announced Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011. Mubarak ruled the country for 30 years before he was forced to step down on February 11, 2011 as a result of the January 25 Revolution.

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Hosni Mubarak during trial - Reuters


On May 24, 2011 Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, were called to trial on charges of killing protesters and corruption charges. On August 19, 2013 Mubarak was acquitted of one of his corruption charges and two days later the court ordered his release from prison.

On Nov. 29, 2014, Mubarak was acquitted of graft, as well as illegally selling gas to Israel within an unfair deal. The charges of killing protesters were dropped by the presiding judge, who said in his explanation of the verdict that there were no sufficient legal grounds to charge the former president.

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Hosni Mubarak at hospital - Reuters

Protests in Tahrir Square took place on the same day the verdict was issued, with at least two protesters killed, including a 14-year old, and the attorney general has announced that he would appeal the acquittals.

In October 2019, Mubarak appeared in a 25-minute video that was uploaded to a YouTube channel called "Mubarak Archives", speaking about his memories of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

Mubarak said that youth must know the role the generation that witnessed the October War played to erase the agony of defeat and restore confidence in the Egyptian Armed Forces.
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2/25/2020 2:20:14 PM
<![CDATA[Military funeral to be held for ex-President Mubarak by law]]>
Mubarak stepped down on February 11, 2011 as a consequence of January 25, 2011, and had been subject to prosecution before he was cleared of all charges.

By law no.35/1975, the former president is entitled to a military funeral because he was the Commander of the Air Force during the October 6, 1973 War. The law provides that high-ranking commanders at the Egyptian Armed Forces during the war shall not retire, and that if they are appointed in a civilian post out of necessity, they have to return to military service after they finish their term.

Sources told Egypt Today that the body will be buried in the family’s tomb located in Madinat Nasr neighborhood.

On May 24, 2011 Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, were called to trial on charges of killing protesters and corruption charges. On August 19, 2013 Mubarak was acquitted of one of his corruption charges and two days later the court ordered his release from prison.

Before becoming president, Mubarak was the commander of the Egyptian Air Force between 1972-1975. Mubarak assumed presidency following the assassination of former President Anwar al-Sadat, who appointed him vice-president.

Mubarak was viewed as a war hero by many Egyptians, because he served as commander of the Egyptian Air Force during the October 6 War in 1973. In a recent statement, Mubarak even claimed that he was the first to fire shots at an Israeli communication base from a fighter jet that he personally piloted six minutes before the surprise attack even began.

Mubarak’s reign was marked with an emergency law that gave authorities the power to conduct random arrests and heavily impeded human rights. He also expanded Egypt’s Central Security Forces and State Security Investigations Service. These tools were used to oppress political opposition, particularly Islamic fundamentalists.

Due to his stance against Islamists and his close ties with the United States, Mubarak was subject to several assassination attempts, namely one in 1995 when he was attending the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 2005, Mubarak was under pressure from the United States to encourage democracy, so he allowed for other presidential candidates to run for the post. He won by a landslide, and the runner-up, Ayman Nour, was soon imprisoned on forgery charges widely believed to have been trumped up.

Prior to that, Mubarak had been re-elected three times uncontested. During his 30 years as president, he had not appointed a vice president until January 29, 2011 when he appointed former Chief of Intelligence Omar Suleiman as vice president in an attempt to appease protesters.

It was Suleiman who announced Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011.

On Nov. 29, 2014, Mubarak was acquitted of graft, as well as illegally selling gas to Israel within an unfair deal. The charges of killing protesters were dropped by the presiding judge, who said in his explanation of the verdict that there were no sufficient legal grounds to charge the former president.

Protests in Tahrir Square took place on the same day the verdict was issued, with at least two protesters killed, including a 14-year old, and the attorney general has announced that he would appeal the acquittals.

In October 2019, Mubarak appeared in a 25-minute video that was uploaded to a YouTube channel called "Mubarak Archives", speaking about his memories of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

Mubarak said that youth must know the role the generation that witnessed the October War played to erase the agony of defeat and restore confidence in the Egyptian Armed Forces.
]]>
2/25/2020 1:50:32 PM
<![CDATA[Former President Hosni Mubarak dies at 91]]>
Mubarak, the fourth president to Egypt, ruled the country for a period of 30 years before he was forced to step down on February 11, 2011 as a result of the January 25 Revolution.

On May 24, 2011 Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, were called to trial on charges of killing protesters and corruption charges. On August 19, 2013 Mubarak was acquitted of one of his corruption charges and two days later the court ordered his release from prison.

Before becoming president, Mubarak was the commander of the Egyptian Air Force between 1972-1975. Mubarak assumed presidency following the assassination of former President Anwar al-Sadat, who appointed him vice-president.

Mubarak was viewed as war hero by many Egyptians, because he served as commander of the Egyptian Air Force during the October 6 War in 1973. In a recent statement, Mubarak even claimed that he was the first to fire shots at an Israeli communication base from a fighter jet that he personally piloted six minutes before the surprise attack even began.

Mubarak’s reign was marked with an emergency law that gave authorities the power to conduct random arrests and heavily impeded human rights. He also expanded Egypt’s Central Security Forces and State Security Investigations Service. These tools were used to oppress political opposition, particularly Islamic fundamentalists.

Due to his stance against Islamists and his close ties with the United States, Mubarak was subject to several assassination attempts, namely one in 1995 when he was attending the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 2005, Mubarak was under pressure from the United States to encourage democracy, so he allowed for other presidential candidates to run for the post. He won by a landslide, and the runner-up, Ayman Nour, was soon imprisoned on forgery charges widely believed to have been trumped up.

Prior to that, Mubarak had been re-elected three times uncontested. During his 30 years as president, he had not appointed a vice president until January 29, 2011 when he appointed former Chief of Intelligence Omar Suleiman as vice president in an attempt to appease protesters.

It was Suleiman who announced Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011.

On Nov. 29, 2014, Mubarak was acquitted of graft, as well as illegally selling gas to Israel within an unfair deal. The charges of killing protesters were dropped by the presiding judge, who said in his explanation of the verdict that there were no sufficient legal grounds to charge the former president.

Protests in Tahrir Square took place on the same day the verdict was issued, with at least two protesters killed, including a 14-year old, and the attorney general has announced that he would appeal the acquittals.

In October 2019, Mubarak appeared in a 25-minute video that was uploaded to a YouTube channel called "Mubarak Archives", speaking about his memories of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

Mubarak said that youth must know the role the generation that witnessed the October War played to erase the agony of defeat and restore confidence in the Egyptian Armed Forces.
]]>
2/25/2020 12:55:27 PM
<![CDATA[Qatar uses fake accounts to escalate against Arab countries: Oxford Institute]]>
According to the report, "Global Information Shading System ... 2019 Global Inventory of Organized Manipulation with Social Media", the Qatari Government used these fake accounts to circulate rumors against Saudi Arabia and some Arab countries.

Freedom House agency has classified Qatar in its annual freedom internet reports as a country without freedom in media outlets.

The agency also reported that Prince Tamimbin Hamed controls all the executive, legislative and judicial powers and that a part of the Qatari people has no political rights;hence they do not receive equal economic opportunities.

In June 2017, a study revealed that 23,000 “fake” Twitter accounts have been created to circulate rumors and post anti-Saudi Arabia tweets, according to tweets by Saud al-Qahtany, the general supervisor of the Saudi Center for Studies and Media Affairs.

He said the accounts in question use certain phrases, such as “pseudo Saudi”, “you are slaves”, and “glorified Tamim” once or more in every six tweets. The users of the account present themselves as Saudi citizens who support the Qatari regime.

A total of 43 percent of the accounts use a profile picture of the Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and nine percent used a picture of the emir and his father Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani.

Meanwhile, 94 percent of the accounts do not use personal profile pictures, four percent use stolen profile pictures, and two percent of the pictures have not been verified by the study.Of all the accounts in the study, 82 percent used pseudonyms, and the rest have not been verified.

"Using Arabic words that are not used in the Saudi dialect also highlights that the accounts are not genuine,"Qahtani said.

Furthermore, 32 percent of the accounts come from Qatar, 28 percent from Lebanon, 24 percent from Turkey and 12 percent from Iraq.

The said accounts interact regularly with other accounts that call for a revolution in Saudi Arabia or spread rumors -and vice versa-through re-tweeting, likingor replying to one of every six tweets.

Qahtany said this means there is a single administration directing all these accounts.
]]>
2/25/2020 11:21:34 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi, intelligence heads discuss combating terrorism, extremism ]]>
"President Sisi welcomed the delegations participating in the forum, and highlighted the severity of the multiple crises and successive challenges taking place in the international and regional arenas and reflecting their repercussions on security and stability in the Arab countries," said spokesperson of the presidency Bassam Rady in a press release.

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President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received Monday the heads of the intelligence services participating in the Arab Intelligence Forum in Cairo - Press photo


Rady added that President Sisi assured Egypt’s support to all initiatives that would enhance cooperation between Arab countries in various fields.

For their part, the attendees thanked the president and Egypt for hosting this important meeting, which contributes to exchanging visions and perspectives to deal with the numerous challenges facing the Arab region.

The spokesperson stated that the meeting witnessed a discussion of the most important topics that were addressed in the forum, especially combating terrorism, extremist ideology and organized crime. It also shed light on the best practices and ways to effectively confront these threats in a manner that takes into account the developmental, social and cultural characteristics of the Arab countries, as well as achieving security and stability. ]]>
2/24/2020 5:50:29 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan military men draft permanent ceasefire agreement in Geneva]]>
The draft will be reviewed by the command of each party before another round of talks takes place in March.

The 5+5 bilateral talks were held in Geneva and attended by Head of UNSMIL Ghassan Salame. The next meeting is planned to examine the tasks of committees to be in charge of accomplishing the prospective agreement.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the LNA, has set out conditions to ensure a ceasefire in the country.

"The Syrian and Turkish mercenaries must pull out from the country, and Ankara must halt the supply of arms to Tripoli," Haftar said in an interview with Sputnik news agency on Friday.

"Unfortunately, a temporary ceasefire is being used by Turkey and the [Tripoli-based Prime Minister Fayez] Sarraj's government to transfer a large number of Syrian mercenaries, Turkish soldiers, terrorists, and weapons to Tripoli by sea and air. It is a violation of the ceasefire," the LNA commander added.

"Our patience is running thin regarding repeated truce breaches by [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and [GNA Prime Minister Fayez] Sarraj's mercenaries, and their failure to fulfill their Berlin obligations," Haftar said.

According to Haftar, the LNA is open to all peace initiatives that could achieve security and stability on Libyan soil and supports actions conducted by the UN Support Mission in Libya and its head Ghassan Salame.
]]>
2/24/2020 5:45:13 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament passes amendments to ‘terror lists’ bill]]>
In simple words, the amendments define terrorist entities as those that practice or call for harm to individuals, vandalism of public and private property, and jeopardy of public order and freedoms.

The amendments were put forward by the government to law no.8/2015 on regulating the lists of terrorist entities, and terrorists.

The Parliament primarily approved on February 11 the “Terror Lists” draft amendments which had been passed by the Defense and National Security Committee then by the Committee of Constitutional and Legislative Affairs.

The draft had been submitted to the State Council for consultation before the final vote took place. The bill has put a legal framework to designate terrorist entities and individuals, and take the necessary measures accordingly. The law matches UNSC Resolution no. 1269 on combatting the financing of terrorism and UNSC Resolution no. 1373 on counterterrorism.

Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said that the amendment to the bill is taking place in time where Egypt is combating terrorism and that the law has a temporary preventive nature as they apply to 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 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, communication utilities, as well as urban, maritime transportation, and air transport, other assets, buildings, public and private properties. This is in addition to occupying and taking over them.

Inhibiting or crippling the work of public, judicial, and governmental authorities, as well as 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 with 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.
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2/24/2020 5:38:59 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s FM, EU Representative for ME talk Peace Process]]>
"Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reviewed Egypt’s vision towards settling the cause, as the Palestinian people should reclaim their legitimate rights and establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital," Hafez said, adding that Egypt affirms its full support to the peace process to reach a just and comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.


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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets with EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Susanna Terstal - press photo


"Terstal expressed her aspiration to continue the consultations with Egypt on the Palestinian-Israeli cause," Hafez said.

On January 28, 2020, US President Donald Trump revealed a controversial peace plan for the Middle East. Trump’s plan aims at recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and allowing Israel to annex West Bank settlements.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi affirmed Cairo’s firm stance regarding the Palestinian cause, calling for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state according to international resolutions.


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2/24/2020 12:59:17 PM
<![CDATA[South Europe at risk of militants infiltration: think tank]]>
The observatory warned that the presence of such militants in Libya constitutes a threat to the security of North Africa, South Europe, and the counterterrorism operations carried out by the Community of Sahel–Saharan States.

Furthermore, their engagement in combats against the Libyan National Army (LNA) weakens its role in fighting terrorism, illegal migration, and human trafficking. The observatory highlighted that the Turkish actions in Libya and Syria are a breach to UNSC Resolution no. 1373.2001 criminalizing support to terrorists by the UN member states and using them in conflicts.

Hence, the observatory urged an investigation by the United Nations Security Council into such practices. It also called for the formation of an international community that investigates Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan's admission of Syrian militants backed by his state along with Turkish military personnel in Libya.

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2/23/2020 5:45:45 PM
<![CDATA[LNA kills 16 Turkish military personnel including 3 commanders]]>
“We promise the Turkish president more,” Mahgoub added. The military man told Sky News Arabia that Turkish consultants and officers have been leading operations launched by the militias and piloting drones, and that they were located in Misrata, Sirte, and others. "LNA targeted a number of those while entering Tripoli through Falah camp," he stated.

Sources told Al Arabiya that an LNA shelling of Tripoli seaport killed three Turkish commanders. On February 18, the LNA had targeted a Turkish ship carrying weapons and ammunition while docked at the port, and a hanger where arms brought by Turkey are stored. The hanger was located in Tripoli seaport as well.
.

Pics: Libya's LNA says it destroyed Turkish arms ship in Tripoli

CAIRO - 18 February 2020: The Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar on Tuesday announced destroying a Turkish ship in the Port of Tripoli, in the capital, which it said was carrying weapons and ammunition.




The LNA is set to terminate Turkish presence in Libya as well as end militias' role in the country.

Haftar ready for ceasefire if 'Turkish troops, mercenaries' withdraw from Libya

MOSCOW - 21 February 2020: Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), has set out conditions to ensure a ceasefire in the country. The Syrian and Turkish mercenaries must pull out from the country and Ankara must halt the supply of arms to Tripoli, Haftar said in an interview with Sputnik news agency on Friday.




The Government of National Accord (GNA) called upon the United States to establish a military base western the country to counter Russia’s ambitions, as stated by Minister of Interior Fathy Bashagha to Bloomberg on Friday.

“Libya is important in the Mediterranean. It has oil, a 1,900-kilometer coast and ports which allow Russia to view it as the gate to Africa,” Bashagha told Bloomberg. “If the U.S. asks for a base, as the Libyan Government we wouldn’t mind -- for fighting terrorism, organized crime and keeping foreign countries that intervene at a distance. An American base would lead to stability,” he explained.

The agency reported that the United States currently has 6,000 soldiers in Africa, including those securing diplomatic entities, amid plans to reduce military presence in the continent. However, a source revealed that the decision is being reviewed to face Russian and Chinese goals.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced on February 17 it has sustained losses worth $1.6 billion since the closure of oil ports and fields by LNA in January in order to cut funding to GNA that hires militants for protection.

LNA confirms closure of oil facilities to cut militias funding

CAIRO - 18 January 2020: 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.




The Libyan National Army (LNA) declared on January 27 that it lies 100 kilometers away from Misrata’s center and that fighting broke out in southern Tripoli in Al Hadaba and Abu Salim.

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.

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.




“Over the last ten days, numerous cargos 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 January 26 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.
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2/23/2020 5:37:38 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi affirms Egypt’s commitment to success of GERD ongoing talks]]>
President Sisi met on Saturday with Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the special envoy of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to discuss the issue of the dam ahead of the imminent signature of the agreement initially reached on the rules for filling and operating the dam by the three Nile basin countries due late February.

President Sisi said, “The agreement would also provide prospects for cooperation, coordination and development among Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan and allow the start of a new phase to develop mutual relations between them. This is in addition to the positive and developmental impact that this would have on the entire Nile Basin region, in light of the regional leverage of the three countries,” Radi added.

President Sisi noted that the agreement on the rules for filling and operating the dam should maintain balance between the interests of all parties.

"President Sisi also extended his greetings to the Ethiopian prime minister and looked forward to enhancing the partnership between the two sides, especially in light of the historic relations they share," Radi said, adding that the president asserted that Egypt's policy is based on the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs, while upholding the values of cooperation.

"Desalegn delivered to President Sisi a letter from Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who expressed his country’s interest and keenness to develop cooperation with Egypt," Radi added, praising Egypt’s successful presidency of the African Union and the remarkable achievements made in this regard over the past year under the president's wise leadership, which embodied Egypt's strong return to the African arena.

Following the final round of the meetings between the Nile Basin countries, the US and the WB representatives in Washington D.C. on February 12-13, 2020, the three countries issued a statement 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 U.S. Department of Treasury said in a statement on February 14, 2020.

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," said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement.

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

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2/23/2020 5:34:42 PM
<![CDATA[UN chief urges new transit point for aid to Syria]]>
Western members of the Security Council had asked Guterres in early January to provide new options after the Council, under pressure from Russia, drastically reduced the number of border crossings authorized for delivering humanitarian aid to the hard-pressed population of northeast Syria, according to AFP.

"Several options can be made available," Guterres said in his report, "but from a security and logistical perspective, in the current context, the Tal Abiyad border crossing would constitute the most feasible alternative to the Al Yarubiyah border crossing."

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted on Friday that Ankara supports Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and sent dozens of military training personnel after the two countries signed a series of deals last year.

The Turkish state has been causing chaos, destruction and instability across the region while completely disregarding all international laws and norms; as whether in Syria or Libya, the Turkish president supported and financed bloody operations and battles against the national armies of both countries, not to mention sending thousands of terrorist troops, rebels and arms.

The secretary-general said two other passage points on the Iraqi border -- Al Walid and Fishkabur, both under Kurdish control -- were studied but found to lack logistical capacity.

The Syrian government had suggested another Iraqi border passage, at Abu Kamal, but it was found to have logistical and security problems.

"An estimated 1.9 million people are assessed to be in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Syria, the vast majority of whom -- 1.34 million people -- are in areas not under government control," Guterres said.

"Medical stocks are expected to run out in the coming months."]]>
2/23/2020 4:03:39 PM
<![CDATA[G20 agrees on final communique with reference to climate change]]>
Compromise language hammered out to overcome U.S. objections retained a reference to the Financial Stability Board’s work examining the implications of climate change for financial stability, although it dropped climate change from its list of downside risks to global economic growth.

One of the sources said it was the first time a reference to climate change had been included in a G20 finance communique, even though it was removed from the top of the joint statement.

G20 finance ministers and central bankers are meeting in the Saudi capital to discuss top global economic challenges, including the spread of the new coronavirus.

Concerns about the economic impact of climate change have escalated in recent years and pressure is mounting on business to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy ahead of United Nations climate talks in November.

A report issued last week forecast the world’s financial services sector risks losses of up to $1 trillion if it fails to respond quickly to climate change and is hit by policy shifts such as the introduction of a carbon tax.

HIGHLY FRAGILE

The International Monetary Fund included climate-related disasters in a list of risks that could derail a “highly fragile” projected recovery in the global economy in 2020. It estimated that a typical climate-related natural disaster reduced growth by an average of 0.4 percentage points in the affected country the year it occurred.

“We should not hide away from what is going on. The climate crisis is upon us,” IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva told a conference in Riyadh on Friday on the eve of the G20 talks.

U.S. officials have resisted naming climate change as an economic risk since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016. One of Trump’s first acts in office was to announce Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

G20 officials completed work on the communique on Sunday morning, the sources said. The final wording was not immediately available.

Delegates worked out a compromise after Washington objected to the initial proposed language, which had included “macroeconomic risk related to environmental stability” in a list of downside risks to global growth, two G20 diplomatic sources said.

A third source said the document would include no reference to fighting climate change, focusing instead on the risks emanating from such shifts.

“In the end it’s not in the first paragraph but in the ninth, very discreet and indirect, but still the first time the word finds its way into a communiqué since this U.S. administration,” the source said.

The communique forecasts a modest pick-up in global growth this year and next, but cites downside risks to this outlook stemming from geopolitical and remaining trade tensions and policy uncertainty.]]>
2/23/2020 3:54:24 PM
<![CDATA[Cassation court upholds sentence on Customs Authority ex-chief]]>
The lawsuit, dating back to 2018, included seven other defendants, who were cleared by Port Said Criminal Court. The Administrative Control Authority unveiled that Abdel Azim got garments, shoes, two glasses, home appliances, and food worth LE 30,335 in order to grant the fourth defendant a leasing contract of four hangers owned by the General Silos and Storage Company.

Abdel Azim also received LE 120, 012 from the sixth defendant for the fourth to get a permit to transport ceramics to the hangers.

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2/23/2020 2:05:14 PM
<![CDATA[Progress in Africa's road safety requires more states' ratification of charter: AU commissioner ]]>
The charter in order to enter into force must be ratified by 15 out of the 55-member countries, while the current number of ratifying countries is 13 countries only, Abou Zeid told Egypt Today on the sidelines of the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm.

Adopted in January 31, 2016, the 31-article charter serves as a policy framework for road safety improvement in Africa, requiring state parties to strengthening pre-hospital and post-crash care services, identifying sustainable funding sources, develop sustainable and accurate national databases on road crashes among other policies.

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AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou Zeid - Courtesy of Amani Abou Zeid with Egypt Today's reporter Nourhan Magdi


Africa has the highest rate of road deaths worldwide, she said, adding “we lose 292000 lives per year, or 21% of global road deaths and that despite the fact that the number of motorized vehicles on the continent, is barely 3% of the world´s total.”

The African continent is the most youthful, but in few years, it will be the most densely populated, which is one of the challenges facing the continent. “For the first time, and amid rapid urbanization, more than half a billion people are added to Africa’s urban population by 2040,” she continued.


Africa practices in road safety

AU commissioner explained that there are some measures that African states must consider, some of which are traditional such as: ensuring safe road designs that reflect international best practices, enforcing law and importing safe and sound vehicles.

She added that Egypt has recently taken into account such technical details in designing its new roads, as well as the random drug tests for drivers to reduce the driving under the influence violation.

Rwanda set a successful example for countries integrating technology in traffic, according to Abou Zeid, who stated that vehicles in the African country has signs on the front, which allow surveillance cameras record if drivers exceed the speed limit, which as a result affect the drivers’ credit score, in a bid to reduce traffic crashes.

“There are three smart corridors that link East Africa to southern parts of the continent, which are designed not only to manage traffic conditions, but also to manage any accidents that may occur,” she added.

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AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou Zeid after finishing her speech at the Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm


Abou Zeid further urged for providing post-crash emergency care, especially on high ways, saying that such care requires concerted efforts of several ministries including health, transport and interior, as well as the ambulance. “A person might not die of an accident, but would lose life due to lack of necessary medical care on time,” she said.

Regarding ways of improving road quality, she explained that there are two ways, the first one is called Retrofitting, which is introducing amendments and reforms into already existing roads, like adding bike lanes or allocating narrow bridges for pedestrians like in Sweden.

However, she said that retrofitting is not an easy way, and very expensive. While for the second approach, where countries build new roads considering road safety measures, is easier, and has been implemented in countries including Egypt.


What is Egypt's next steps?

“The work to improve road safety is a continuous work that does not stop, as every area and every street has a different challenge that requires specific effort,” Abou Zeid explained as she lists a number of considerations that Egypt should focus on to upgrade road safety status.

Controlling speed limits was on the top of the factors Abou Zeid listed, as she cited the Swedish Minister of Transport’s plan to cut down speed limits in Swedish cities to 30 km/hour.

She further said that Egypt needs to toughen procedures, not only penalties, like making obligatory to wear seat belts and helmets, questioning: “How many people do we see wearing helmets on motorcycles, except from Rwanda, where the practice is mandatory?”

The third element was to remove all commercial activities off the sidewalks, which should be allocated for pedestrians, who as a result walk in the roads, risking their lives.

“There is a lot that Egypt can do to significantly improve road safety, and remains a role model to African countries,” Abou Zeid added.

She also underscored the importance of setting common definitions for all road safety indicators, which help in better policy development, comparison and evaluation.

Egypt was part of the United Nation’s decade of action program that started 2011 with an ambitious target to halve global number of deaths from road accidents by 2020. The country embarked on an extensive local program that included: toughening punishment on traffic violators, building new road networks, renovating bridges and launching drug-driving tests.

The Cabinet’s Information Center announced that Egypt jumped 89 places in roads quality rankings by The Global Economy from the 118th in 2014 to the 29th in 2019.

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety kicked off in Stockholm, Sweden Wednesday, where around 1,700 delegates from 140 countries are attending to share successes and lessons from implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
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2/23/2020 3:04:40 AM
<![CDATA[Malian Transport Minister: We look forward to receive EgyptAir flights in Bamako ]]>
Held in Stockholm, the conference on Road Safety concluded its work on Thursday, where around 1,700 delegates from 140 countries.

In statements to Egypt Today, Minister Abdoul said the conference represented a great opportunity for African ministers to exchange important achievements amid the attendance of international organizations, including the World Bank.

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Malian Minister of Transport Ibrahima Abdoul-LY with Egypt Today reporter Nourhan Magdi


He further stressed the strong ties and relations that exist between Egypt and Mali since the era of the late Egyptian Preisdent Gamal Abdel Nasser, adding that both countries share great cooperation in military fields.

“I also hope Egyptair will operate flights to Bamako, and I am a big supporter of Ahly football team and its players,” he added.

The relations between Egypt and Mali started in 1960 after Mali’s independence.

The visit paid by the Malian Prime Minister to Cairo in August 2014 made a new start for bilateral relations between the two countries, where it activated bilateral cooperation in many areas, especially the cooperation in the field of defense, in addition energy and transportation, according to the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Egyptian National Center for Solar and renewable energy provided technical support for specialized cadres from Mali in various areas of renewable energy, as a contribution from Egypt in the establishment of an agency for renewable energy in Mali.

The Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to Egypt to attend the Egypt Economic Development Conference, which was held in Sharm el-Sheikh during the period from 13 to 15 March 2015, in his second visit to Cairo after participating in President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's inauguration in June Conference 2014.
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2/22/2020 6:23:50 PM
<![CDATA[Syrian army continues operations in Idlib, Aleppo countrysides]]>
The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday striking by missiles 21 targets that belong to the Syrian Arab Army in retaliation for an attack by the latter.

February 21

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that the Syrian Armed Forces are targeting militants concentrations and vehicles by missiles and artillery in Idlib’s countryside, precisely in Qamaynas, Jabal Al Arbaeen, the outskirts of Ariha town, Kafr Nabl, Hass, Atarib, and Darat Izza.

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria rejected claims by Turkey that hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled Idlib to Turkish-Syrian borders.

February 20

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed the withdrawal of Turkish forces and affiliate militant groups from Nayrab village eastern Idlib after fierce confrontations that caused 27 casualties among warring parties. Those are two Turkish soldiers, 14 militants, and 11 Syrian soldiers. That’s in addition to the injury of three Turkish soldiers and four Syrian soldiers.

The Syrian Arab Army backed by Russia had repelled a major attack by Turkey-backed militant groups in the village destroying their armored vehicles.

The Turkish army had also struck concentrations of the Syrian government forces in Nayrab, Saraqib, Afes, and Maara Alia.

Russian fighter jets struck militants destroying a tank, six armored vehicles and five four-wheel drive vehicles prompting Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar to state that his country does not intend to confront Russia in Syria adding that the relocation of the 12 Turkish checkpoints in the country is not negotiable.

The Syrian army also destroyed a number of Turkish vehicles that were attempting to advance towards Nayrab by building up in Qamaynas and Sarmin.

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria announced that Russian control systems had detected artillery attacks launched from Turkish concentrations against the Arab Syrian Army and that after the Turkish side had been notified, the strikes stopped.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that was not the first time Turkey supports Syrian militants calling upon the Turkish side “to stop backing operations by terrorists and transferring arms to them.”

The militant groups backed by Turkey were able to temporarily take over Nayrab from the Syrian Armed Forces. Nayrab, which is located on the M4 highway extending from Idlib’s Saraqib to Latakia, was restored by the Syrian army from militants earlier this month.

The main militant groups that launched the attack are Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, which used to occupy half Idlib governorate, and Ajnad al-Kavkaz.

February 19

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his country would launch an operation against the Arab Syrian Army in Idlib.

February 18

SOHR reported that Russian forces targeted Turkey-backed militant concentrations near Raqa’s Ain Issa.

February 17

SOHR reported that Russia launched 100 raids against de-escalation zones in Idlib.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad congratulated Aleppo residents on freeing parts of the governorate from militants stipulating that the ongoing battle to liberate Idlib and the countryside of Aleppo governorate will continue.

The Syrian Arab Army had announced capturing tens of villages and towns in western and northwestern countryside of Aleppo. It is worthy to mention that Aleppo city was totally liberated from militants in 2016, and that the governorate is considered the industrial capital of Syria.

Syria to resume flights between Aleppo Airport, Cairo: Min.

CAIRO - 20 February 2020: Syrian Transport Minister Ali Hammoud announced intentions to operating flights between Cairo and the Aleppo International Airport, after a nine-year closure, starting March. In an interview on Thursday with the Russian government-owned Sputnik, the minister said flights will be resumed to Cairo due to the presence of a big Syrian community in Cairo, and then to a number of other countries which he declined to name.



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2/22/2020 5:45:18 PM
<![CDATA[4th African chief justices conference kicks off in Cairo]]>
The conference, which will conclude on February 25, discusses mechanisms of legal interpretation adopted across Africa, combating terrorism from a constitutional perspective, factors of transparancy, integrity, and anti-corruption, upgrading the professional capacity of the judiciary, and coping with information technology development and digitalization to maintain the rule of law.

The conference also tackles the criminalization of certain practices on social media, social rights, sustainable development, electoral fairness and the role of the judiciary in the process in light of different views on the judicial supervision of elections as well as the protection of environment and urban life.

The attendees represent 35 countries and include 100 judges in addition to the ambassadors of invited countries, and international experts.

The opening was attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and a number of ministers, including Justice Minister Omar Marwan and State Minister of Military Production Mohamed al-Assar.
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2/22/2020 2:44:49 PM
<![CDATA[South Sudan set to swear in former rebel leader as first vice president]]>
Riek and Machar had repeatedly pushed back deadlines to form a government of national unity following a peace accord signed in 2018. The civil war killed 400,000 people and triggered Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

On Thursday, they met at State House and said that a government will be formed and they will resolve outstanding issues, such as the unification of the army, in the coming days. Kiir named Machar as his first vice president on Friday and the swearing-in is expected to take place at 2 p.m. (1100 GMT).

“The time for war is finished, now is time for peace and development,” said Arkanjelo Tout, a resident in Juba, said on Friday. “I am expecting the new government to put the interest of its people first.”

South Sudan gained independence in 2011 but descended into fighting two years later after Kiir sacked his then deputy Machar, who later went on to form a rebel faction.

“We are hoping that the new unity government would address the root causes of conflict to avoid going back to war again,” Angelo Wani, another Juba Resident, told Reuters on Friday.

The country is almost entirely dependent on oil for revenues, and a binding peace agreement could unlock its reserves. Output currently stands at 180,000 barrels per day down from a peak of 250,000 bpd before the outbreak of the conflict in 2013.

However, analysts said that forming a government is only one step toward solidifying peace.

Resolving issues such as unifying the armed forces, the return of refugees and economic reforms are critical to long-lasting peace, said James Okuk, a senior researcher at the Juba-based Center for Strategic and Policy Studies.

“People will be watching and will be criticizing whoever is lazy to deliver on time,” he said. “Every citizen is expecting that this should be a serious government.”]]>
2/22/2020 1:29:52 PM
<![CDATA[Haftar ready for ceasefire if 'Turkish troops, mercenaries' withdraw from Libya]]>
The Syrian and Turkish mercenaries must pull out from the country and Ankara must halt the supply of arms to Tripoli, Haftar said in an interview with Sputnik news agency on Friday.

"Unfortunately, a temporary ceasefire is being used by Turkey and the [Tripoli-based Prime Minister Fayez] Sarraj government to transfer a large number of Syrian mercenaries, Turkish soldiers, terrorists, and weapons to Tripoli by sea and air. It is a violation of the ceasefire", the LNA commander added.

"Our patience is running thin regarding repeated truce breaches by [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and [GNA Prime Minister Fayez] Sarraj's mercenaries and their failure to fulfill their Berlin obligations," Haftar said.

According to Haftar, the LNA is open to all peace initiatives that could achieve security and stability on Libyan soil and supports actions conducted by the UN Support Mission in Libya and its head Ghassan Salame. ]]>
2/21/2020 1:13:07 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt shows strong leadership, progress in transport system: Swedish Min. ]]>
“I am impressed by the progress made now in Egypt, since I was in Egypt last time 10 years ago, I realized that there are a lot of things happening now,” Eneroth said in an interview with Egypt Today on the sidelines of the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety that is held in Stockholm.

Eneroth said that he had a very good meeting on Wednesday with the Egyptian Minister of Transport in Stockholm, and that they had a lot of good ideas to implement in terms of road safety, which he believed would be a very good start between the two countries.

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Swedish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Thomas Eneroth with Egypt Today's reporter Nourhan Magdi


“There are lots of things we can do together and we are already doing together, Egypt has shown that by strong leadership they can manage to change to development and now they have quite positive development when it comes to road safety,” he added.

Swedish Transport System cited investments that Egypt managed to attract into the transport system as one of the main achievements that impressed him, adding that “we realized that investments in infrastructure is needed and if combined with also investments in public transport that’s even more important.”

And on the Swedish perspective, Eneroth said “we work on the Vision Zero Academy, which is our way of sharing our experience and also funding programs.”

The minister also explained that changing transport system to meet climate change is made possible because of challenges in the coming years; however, using that change is also important to maintain efficient transport system and make roads safer.

He went on saying that they are working on electrifying transport system, and installing new devices to make safer transport system, “and this technique we can share and discuss together with Egypt and other countries.”

He added that both countries will continue to have good relations and experience, stressing that he always highlighted the importance of multilateral agreements not ending up in a discussion.

During the conference, Minister Tomas Eneroth urged decision makers to adopt an action plan to allow children live a safe life, and reduce deaths figures on the roads.

He also presented the ‘Stockholm Declaration’, which was prepared on the basis of the Moscow Declaration of 2009 and the Brasilia Declaration of 2015, UN General Assembly and World Health Assembly resolutions. The declaration aims to connect road safety to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Egypt was part of the United Nation’s decade of action program that started 2011 with an ambitious target to halve global number of deaths from road accidents by 2020. The country embarked on an extensive local program that included: toughening punishment on traffic violators, building new road networks, renovating bridges and launching drug-driving tests.

The Cabinet’s Information Center announced that Egypt jumped 89 places in roads quality rankings by The Global Economy from the 118th in 2014 to the 29th in 2019.

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety kicked off in Stockholm, Sweden Wednesday, where around 1,700 delegates from 140 countries are attending to share successes and lessons from implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.]]>
2/20/2020 4:19:01 PM
<![CDATA[Potential military coup likely against Erdogan: US think tank]]>
The report by prominent think tank RAND Corporation, regarding Turkey’s foreign policy, also hinted that the Turkish defense minister was extremely close to the US military.

Huge discontent has been piling up in the Turkish military, especially following the expulsion of hundreds of officers after an alleged coup attempt in 2016.

Mid-level officers are reported to be extremely frustrated with the military leadership and concerned about being removed in the continuing post-coup purges, according to the report.

“This discontent could even lead to another coup attempt at some point, and Erdogan appears to take the threat seriously,” the report said.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was also mentioned in the report as the go-to person when it comes to US-Turkey relations

“Throughout this turmoil, Akar has remained a key interlocutor for the US and other foreign militaries,” the report added.

Akar’s retention of his position as a Turkish General Staff chief in 2017 and subsequent appointment as minister of defense in July 2018 in the first presidential decree under the new executive presidential system suggest that he will continue to be the leading figure in Turkish defense affairs for some time.

The report also claimed that the Erdogan government had established the National Defense University as the ultimate educational body for the military after the coup attempt in order “to break down the Turkish military’s insular culture as guardians of secularism”.

Erdogan delved into the issue over the weekend. Without directly talking about the report, the president said that the Turkish people’s resistance to the 2016 coup attempt should be a lesson for everyone.

“Our people have earned a great and serious experience,” he told journalists. “Next time they won’t even question whether to go out. Everyone will pour out to the squares.”

For his part, AKP spokesperson Omer Celik has said “The state apparatus is on the alert and has proven to be loyal to democracy.”

Erdogan’s nationalist partner Devlet Bahseli, has also said “The rumor of the coup is ingratitude to the people. If there are some who are planning a coup and want to turn their guns on the people they should know that they will not succeed unless they shed the blood of the 82 million Turks!”

After several weeks of silence, the Turkish defense ministry said the report was unreasonably ambiguous and the comments referring to the Turkish military were baseless and not serious.

“We are saddened to see that some expressions in the report have been consciously, or unconsciously, twisted and used in the country,” the statement said.
]]>
2/20/2020 2:36:09 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Lukashenko go on tour of Egypt’s New Administrative Capital]]>
The tour included the City of Culture and Arts and the Sports City in the new capital that has not yet been unnamed. The two leaders also visited the Church of the Nativity, Egypt’s largest church, and the headquarters of the House of Representatives and the Council of Ministers.

Meeting on Wednesday, Sisi and Lukashenko have signed four memorandums of understanding to foster relations between the two countries, after they held talks at Al-Ittihadiya presidential palace in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The first memorandum of understanding focused on establishing a high-level committee for political dialogue between the two countries. It was signed by the foreign ministers of both countries.

Egypt and Belarus also signed the executive program for cooperation in the field of global education and post-university education. A joint MoU was signed by the Central Bank of Egypt and The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.

Egypt and Belarus also signed an agreement for cooperation and mutual support in the field of customs.

On Tuesday Feb. 18, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Egypt is an important economic and trade partner in the Middle East region. He praised the achievements and the exchange of visits between the leaders of the two countries.

Lukashenko also asserted that Belarusian-Egyptian relations have witnessed a big leap over the past years.

In June 2019, 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.]]>
2/20/2020 12:20:50 PM
<![CDATA[UN envoy ‘impressed’ by Egypt’s ‘strong effort’ on road safety amid growing population]]>
“I finished a meeting with the Transport Minister Kamel el-Wazir, and I was impressed because for a 100 million population country it is really strong effort and input to make things changing,” Todt answered a question by Egypt Today.

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UN's Special Envoy of Road Safety Jean Todt with Egypt Today reporter Nourhan Magdi

He explained that Egypt know that there is still have a lot of things to do among them is to apply to the road safety conventions, and sign protocols, they need to fulfill.

“They [Egypt] have the motivation and understanding of it, and of course what we will be able to give, we will give them,” he added.

Asking him about the problem of the lack of standardized data collection, or unified sources of information about road injuries or fatalities, Todt said that the UN along with the World Bank, and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) are working to install regional observatories and participate in data basis collection to better evaluate road safety worldwide.

He also talked about how his life path changed from being a rally driver and then the CEO of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team to a road safety advocate. According to a book he wrote about road fatalities, Todt said he have a passion for motorsport, and did not worry much about the risks when was a young man competing at the highest level in rally driving.

“I reached a stage in life where I realized that I wanted to pay more attention to what I could put back into a world that had given me so much,” his book reads.

Todt said during the press conference that he incidentally confronted serious injuries situations, where he was surrounded by the best doctors, and then he felt that [the doctors] were giving so much of themselves, and that he wanted to give something back.

Todt was elected as the head of Ferrari’s Formula 1, which won 14 world titles, and now he is the President of the FIA, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), where he set a priority of addressing road safety as part of its agenda once he assumed the position.

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety kicked off in Stockholm, Sweden Wednesday, where around 1,700 delegates from 140 countries are attending to share successes and lessons from implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

]]>
2/20/2020 1:04:51 AM
<![CDATA[‘Enough is enough’: Egyptian Omnia El Omrani calls for youth engagement in road safety crisis ]]>
Omrani made a powerful speech in the beginning of the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm, where she attracted great reactions from participants, who were moved by her enthusiasm speaking about road accidents being the leading cause of death of youths.

“Enough is enough,” said Omrani, adding that “it is time to take actions, no more fake promises, no more false commitments.”

Omrani urged decision makers to move towards achieving the goal, as she said, “We have creativity and passion, and want you to work with us…together with your political will, we will make powerful alliance.”

In her statements to Egypt Today, Omrani explained that young leaders from over 74 countries met Tuesday, where over 100 delegates participated at the second world youth assembly, adding that “the idea of the assembly is a youth declaration statement, which includes challenges that we face across five continents, demands, call to actions and commitments.”

“We have demands for road safety, but we are also committed to work together with the policy makers to implement effective policies and fight road safety crisis,” she continued.

Omrani participates in the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety that kicked off in Stockholm Wednesday, and is attended by his Majesty King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and 1,700 delegates from 140 countries to share successes and lessons from implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

She has graduated in Ain Shams Faculty of Medicine, and she also serves as the co-chair of the Second World Youth Association, and is a member of the International Youth for Road Safety organization.
]]>
2/19/2020 10:32:01 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Parliament to resume general session Sunday]]>
Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aati will attend a session on Tuesday to reply to interpellations and engage in public discussions on a host of issues related to the Irrigation Ministry.

Among the draft laws to be discussed by the MPs, a bill on amending terror entities law and terrorism combat, which needs approval of a two-third majority of the parliament.

The two other bills to be deliberated by the parliament include one on regulating consumer credit activities and another one on activating a law ending tax disputes and amending the income tax law.]]>
2/19/2020 12:37:51 PM
<![CDATA[Women represent 21% of workforce in MENA: Min.]]>
Mashat's remarks came during her speech at the "Empowering Women Entrepreneurs" session that was held in Dubai as part of the World Woman Forum 2020, organized by Dubai Women’s Foundation and attended by representatives of 87 countries.

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During the “Empowering Women Entrepeneurs” session at the Global Women’s Forum, #Dubai. The participation of women is macro-critical… In #Egypt, we have around 48 million women of which 23 million are actually supporting families. Through public private partnerships (PPP) we are reducing the financing gap, fostering more inclusion and engaging in constructive dialogues on the advancement of women. We also have to elevate the narrative; with women success stories becoming an ever needed prominent feature of the public conversation as they provide open doors for others and push participation. Today, 25% of Egypt’s cabinet members and 19% of parliament are women. There are increased efforts by the government to politically, economically and socially empower our women, to deliver on #Egypt’s 2030 vision, consistent with the @UnitedNations #SDG5. رفع مستوى الخطاب الإعلامي: المساواة بين الجنسين وتمكين المرأة خلال جلسة "تمكين رائدات الأعمال" بمنتدى المرأة العالمي بدبي. إن مشاركة النساء أمر في غاية الأهمية على المستوى الكلي.....لدينا في مصر حوالي ٤٨ مليون امرأة منهن ٢٣ مليون مرأة معيلة. من خلال مبادرات الشراكة بين الحكومة والقطاع الخاص نعمل على تقليل الفجوة التمويلية، وزيادة الشمول المالي، والانخراط في حوارات بناءة عن كيفية تنمية المرأة. يجب علينا أيضًا أن نعمل على رفع مستوى الخطاب الإعلامي؛ خاصة وأن قصص نجاح السيدات محور أساسي في الحوار العام من أجل إتاحة فرص لسيدات أخريات وزيادة درجة المشاركة. اليوم، ٢٥٪؜ من أعضاء مجلس الوزراء هن من النساء وكذلك ١٩ ٪؜ من تشكيل مجلس النواب. هناك جهود متزايدة من الحكومة لتمكين النساء المصريات سياسيًا، واقتصاديًا، واجتماعيًا من أجل تحقيق رؤية مصر ٢٠٣٠ اتساقًا مع الهدف الخامس من أهداف التنمية المستدامة للأمم المتحدة.

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“In Egypt, we have around 48 million women, of which 23 million are actually supporting families. Through public private partnerships (PPP), we are reducing the financing gap, fostering more inclusion and engaging in constructive dialogues on the advancement of women,” She said.

“We also have to elevate the narrative, with women success stories becoming an ever needed prominent feature of the public conversation, as they provide open doors for others and push participation. Today, 25 percentof Egypt’s Cabinet members and 19 percentof Parliament members are women. The government exerts increasing efforts to politically, economically and socially empower women, to deliver Egypt’s 2030 vision,” Mashat added.

During the minister’s speech, she stressed on the importance of achieving financial inclusion, working to increase MSMEs and establishing strong partnerships between the government and the private sector in the Middle East and North Africa region.

She also added that the Central Bank of Egypt launched a number of initiatives to promote women’s financial inclusion by signing MoUs with the National Council for Women to determine initiatives that are matched with the objectives of the National Strategy for Empowering Egyptian woman 2030.

Mashat stressed that the economic, social and political empowerment ofwomen in Egypt became a national priority for the Egyptian government.

The forum discussed policies and initiatives that possess a positive impact on women and ways to increase women's social and economic participation, especially in the entrepreneurial sector.

Ivanka Trump, adviser to the US president; and a number of heads of international financial institutions headed by David Malpas, president of the World Bank Group; and Crystalina Georgieva, director-general of the International Monetary Fund, delivered a speech during 60 discussion sessions of the forum.

Mashat also presented the efforts of Egypt in empowering women politically, economically and socially in various fields, as Egypt is one of the first countries to prepare a strategy for empowering women, which was launched by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in 2017 to make women a basic partner in a strategy for sustainable development by 2030.

The minister participated in the launch of the Women Entrepreneur Financing Initiative (We-Fi), which is held for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa, with the aim of empowering women entrepreneurs in the region. This initiative includes a partnership of 14 governments with six development banks.

The forum focuses on four main axes such as the government, economy, society and the future with the participation of more than 3000 personalities, which makes it the largest forum of its kind.
]]>
2/19/2020 11:59:59 AM
<![CDATA[Equatoguinean Minister say ties with Egypt ‘strong’, Arab Contractors builds our roads ]]>
“We have different conditions of roads in Africa. In the last 20 years, governments of Africa have done a lot to boost road safety, but the figure of cars increased too much,” Minister Medja told Egypt Today magazine on the sidelines of the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety set to kick off in Stockholm Wednesday.

He further explained that in his country, they are working to reduce the number of vehicles to achieve safer roads.

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Equatoguinean Minister Nsue Medja with Egypt Today Reporter Nourhan Magdi on the sidelines of the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety hosted in Stockholm

Speaking about relations between Egypt and Equatorial Guinea, Medja said that both countries share almost 40 years of strong relations, with lots of Egyptian companies are operating in Equatorial Guinea.

He further went on saying that among the Egyptian companies, there is the Arab Contractors that is taking part in building roads in his country in an outstanding performance.

Arab Contractors-Equatorial Guinea Ltd. Company was established in 2003 with an Egyptian-Guinean partnership.

Minister Medja said that African countries should rely on big countries to fix their roads, adding that Egypt has done a good job in improving road safety.

“We should stand for ourselves to boost roads ourselves, and our young people got to be educated about road safety,” he added.

Egypt was part of the United Nation’s decade of action program that started 2011 with an ambitious target to halve global number of deaths from road accidents by 2020. The country embarked on an extensive local program that included: toughening punishment on traffic violators, building new road networks, renovating bridges and launching drug-driving tests.

The Cabinet’s Information Center announced that Egypt jumped 89 places in roads quality rankings by The Global Economy from the 118th in 2014 to the 29th in 2019.

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety will kick off in Stockholm, Sweden Wednesday, where around 1,700 delegates from around 140 countries around the world are attending to share successes and lessons from implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
]]>
2/19/2020 1:23:18 AM
<![CDATA[WHO expert hopes road safety gets similar world attention as coronavirus]]>
“The leading cause of death is road accidents, we cannot accept that, we have to do more, and people have to demand that transportation become much safer,” said Etienne Krug is Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department for Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention in an interview with Egypt Today magazine.

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Etienne Krug is Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department for Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention - Photo by Nourhan Magdi/Egypt Today


Ministers and representatives from more than 140 countries are gathering in Stockholm for the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road safety set to kick off on Wednesday. Several sidelines sessions will be there, where countries share progress in road safety, and set a future plan for reducing traffic deaths worldwide.

Krug ruled out that coronavirus, which has been dominating news and international discussions would affect the organization’s attention to the first leading cause of the death, which are road accidents. A total of 1,868 deaths from coronavirus were recorded in mainland China reached, with 72,436 infections confirmed.

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Etienne Krug is Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department for Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention - Photo by Nourhan Magdi/Egypt Today

Krug further explained that the attention paid by governments to coronavirus is a demonstration that governments can move towards an issue when they have the will.

Regarding the Decade of Action program set by the UN from 2011 to 2020, Krug said that the goals to halve the number of deaths were not achieved, and that countries still need to do more.

“There is a lot that can be done to improve road safety, we have to work on infrastructure, vehicles and people’s behavior. Good legislation on speeding, drinking and driving, using seat belts or motorcycle helmets is extremely important, and it has to be enforced and people should be informed,” he added.

Krug believes that people’s behavior can be changed, and that the matter is a question of good laws, and enforcement.

As many countries, including Egypt, are encouraging citizens to shift to biking rather than vehicles, Krug said that “bicycling is a very health, cheap and clean mean of transportation, but it has to be safe and requires bicycle lanes separated from the rest of the traffic.

“Zero deaths on the roads should be every country’s objective, we are paying way too higher price for our mobility. Zero deaths is in reach in countries like Sweden and Norway, while in other countries it is further away, but still, it should be the ambition,” he said. ]]>
2/18/2020 11:44:29 PM
<![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.

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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.


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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.
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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.
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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


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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.

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"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.


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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.


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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.
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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.



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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.
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2/1/2020 5:42:52 PM