Hamas Delegation in Cairo to Discuss Palestinian Files

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Hamas Delegation in Cairo to Discuss Palestinian Files

Thursday, 12 July, 2018 – 07:45
Gaza – Asharq Al-Awsat
A senior delegation from Hamas Politburo arrived in Cairo on Wednesday upon an invitation from Egyptian intelligence officials who are seeking to resolve pending Palestinian files.

The delegation is led by Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the Hamas Politburo, who came from abroad along with Moussa Abu Marzouq, Hussam Badran and Izzat al-Rashq. Two officials – Khalil al-Hayya and Rouhi Moshtaha – came from the Gaza Strip. The head of the movement in Gaza, Yehya Sinwar, could not join the delegation for health reasons.

Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for the movement, said in a press statement that the delegation would discuss with the Egyptian officials bilateral relations and developments in the Palestinian and Arab affairs.

The movement’s Politburo has held important meetings over the past few days, through safe means of communication between its members, in Gaza and Turkey simultaneously.

In a statement on Tuesday, the movement said it had decided to accept the Egyptian invitation for dialogue, underlining its willingness to achieve national reconciliation and unity on the basis of partnership in the resistance and the decision-making.

“The optimal condition for achieving this reconciliation is to immediately lift unjust sanctions on the Gaza Strip and to rebuild the PLO through a new national unity council, according to the Beirut 2017 outputs and the comprehensive implementation of the Cairo Agreement of 2011,” the statement said.

Sources in Hamas told Asharq Al-Awsat that the delegation would confirm to the Egyptian side that based on its “positive initiative”, it has facilitated many measures to allow the government to assume its duties in Gaza Strip.

The sources added that the movement would stress that it was not responsible for the assassination attempt against Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah during his visit to Gaza on March 13.

The delegation will also express to Cairo its dissatisfaction with the attitude of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority for blaming the movement for the incident, noting that investigations conducted by Hamas have shown that the attack was perpetrated by militants with extremist ideology, who were recruited by members of the Palestinian and Israeli intelligence.

Other sources in Hamas said that the delegation would discuss in Cairo the need to resolve crises in Gaza and alleviate the humanitarian situation there.Hamas and Fatah leaders shake hands following the signing of a reconciliation deal at the Egyptian intelligence services headquarters in Cairo in October 2017. (AFP)

Cairo Invites Hamas for Talks over Reconciliation: With Fatah

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Cairo Invites Hamas for Talks over Reconciliation

Wednesday, 4 July, 2018 – 09:30
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh gestures during an interview with Reuters in Gaza. Reuters file photo
Ramallah – Asharq Al-Awsat

Egypt’s intelligence service invited the head of Hamas Politburo, Ismail Haniyeh, to visit Cairo within the next few days to discuss various issues, mainly the stumbling Palestinian reconciliation.

Several sources in Hamas confirmed that Haniyeh had received an invitation to visit the Egyptian capital along with a senior delegation from the movement.

The sources expected the visit to take place as soon as possible, “perhaps next week.”

The sources said the main aim of the invitation was to resume Egypt’s efforts to complete the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

Egypt decided to intensify its contacts with all parties in order to remove obstacles to the implementation of the agreement it sponsored on October 12 last year.

Egyptian efforts came after the appointment of a new Egyptian intelligence chief.

Before Hamas received an invitation to visit Cairo, Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad held talks with Egyptian officials in this regard.

Al-Ahmad said that Egypt has started moving towards completing the reconciliation file.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Egypt wanted to reach a specific agreement with Hamas on controversial issues with Fatah, such as security empowerment, as well as the possibility of forming a unity government to prepare for the general elections.

Egypt has also asked Hamas to maintain peaceful “return marches” so as not to cause a deterioration of the situation that could lead to a new war.

Abbas had announced his intention to take national and financial measures against the Gaza Strip after the assassination attempt on the Palestinian prime minister in Gaza last March.

The assassination attempt froze all contacts on reconciliation that had already been stalled between the two movements.

Hamas Delegation Heads to Cairo before US Embassy Move

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Hamas Delegation Heads to Cairo before US Embassy Move

Sunday, 13 May, 2018 – 11:00
Israeli troops fire shots, tear gas at Gaza protesters. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Hamas chief Ismail Hanieh traveled to Cairo on Sunday a day before the United States is expected to relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The Palestinian movement has planned major rallies in Gaza in protest against Washington’s controversial move.

In Egypt, Hanieh and other Hamas members are set to meet with the head of Egypt’s security services, Hamas sources said, amid mounting speculation that Egypt is seeking to negotiate a deal with the movement to ease potential violence on Monday.

Hamas declined to comment on Hanieh’s departure.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are expected to gather along the border between Gaza and Israel Monday to protest as the US opens its embassy.

Hamas leaders have voiced support in recent days for attempts to break the fence into Israel, despite the possibility of it leading to bloodshed.

Arab media have speculated that Egypt could ease border restrictions with Gaza and offer economic relief in exchange for protesters not trying to breach the fence.

Fifty-four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since mass protests broke out along the border on March 30. No Israelis have been injured.

The moving of the embassy, a campaign pledge by US President Donald Trump, has infuriated Palestinians, who view the eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and view the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv as a blatantly one-sided move that invalidates the US as a Mideast peace broker.

Trump will not attend the embassy opening Monday, but his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner will.

Hanieh is expected to return to Gaza late Sunday ahead of the protests.

Last week, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yehya Sinwar, said international and regional mediators have come up with offers “to control” weeks of deadly protests.

Egypt authorities arrest atheist blogger

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Egypt authorities arrest atheist blogger

Sherif Gaber nabbed; promoting atheism can be punished under a law that bans ‘insults to religions’

In this file photo from Dec. 12, 2012, policemen are silhouetted against the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

In this file photo from Dec. 12, 2012, policemen are silhouetted against the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

CAIRO — Egyptian police have arrested an atheist blogger who was previously detained for promoting his views, a rights lawyer said on Saturday.

Sherif Gaber was in police custody on Saturday and set to be questioned by the prosecution on Sunday, Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, told AFP.

“He has been arrested and should be questioned tomorrow,” Eid said.

It was not immediately clear when Gaber was arrested.

In late March, Gaber tweeted that “some Muslim lawyers” filed a complaint against him with the attorney general.

“I’ll probably get arrested in the next few days, but I don’t want you to get mad,” he wrote.

Gaber was detained in 2013 for allegedly promoting atheism.

Promoting atheism can be punished in Egypt under a law that bans “insults to religions.”

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PA official: Egypt asked Hamas to stop Gaza protests

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

PA official: Egypt asked Hamas to stop Gaza protests

Envoys from Cairo said to worry about potential for ‘serious deterioration’; official in the Strip vows to continue demonstrations

A Palestinian man tries to cut through a section of barbed wire at the border fence with Israel, east of Jabalia in the central Gaza city, during a protest on April 13, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

A Palestinian man tries to cut through a section of barbed wire at the border fence with Israel, east of Jabalia in the central Gaza city, during a protest on April 13, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

Senior Egyptian intelligence officials who visited the Gaza Strip on Saturday reportedly asked Hamas leaders to halt the weekly mass demonstrations along the border with Israel.

The Egyptian delegation, headed by Sameh Nabil, who is in charge of the Palestinian portfolio in Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, entered the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing with Israel.

A Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah said that the Egyptian officials demanded during their talks with Hamas leaders in Gaza City that the terror group end the protests, which began three weeks ago as part of the so-called March of Return.

“The Egyptians are worried that the confrontations along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel could lead to a serious deterioration,” the official told The Times of Israel. “The Egyptians are also concerned that the clashes could move to the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.”

Egypt has refused to open the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on a permanent basis, a decision that has drawn sharp criticism from Palestinians living in the coastal enclave.

Unconfirmed reports in a number of Arab media outlets in the past few days said that Egypt has been pressuring Hamas to halt the “March of Return” in exchange for easing travel restrictions at the Rafah crossing.

Adel Abed Al Rahman, spokesperson for the Egyptian delegation that visited the Gaza Strip, said that the talks with the Hamas leaders focused on the issue of “reconciliation” between the terror group and Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

Israeli soldiers are seen as Palestinian demonstrators protest at the Israel-Gaza border, Friday, April 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo in October 2017 in which they pledged to end their differences and pave the way for achieving Palestinian unity. However, the two rival parties have since failed to reach understandings on the implementation of the Egyptian-brokered deal, and continue to hold each other responsible for its failure.

Abbas has accused Hamas of failing to hand full control of the Gaza Strip over to his Ramallah-based government. He has also threatened to impose new sanctions on Hamas unless it complies with his demands.

Hamas, for its part, has accused Abbas of failing to lift sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip last year, including suspending payments to thousands of civil servants. Hamas has also rejected Abbas’s demand to allow his security forces to deploy in the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian intelligence officials who were trying to mediate between Hamas and Fatah left the Gaza Strip shortly after last month’s attempt on the life of Rami Hamdallah, the PA prime minister. Hamdallah’s convoy was targeted by a roadside bomb as he was on his way to inaugurate a water waste plant in the northern Gaza Strip. Neither he nor PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who was also in the convoy, were hurt.

Hamas officials refused to comment on the claim that the Egyptians were pressuring them to halt the “March of Return.”

However, shortly after the Egyptian officials left the Gaza Strip, Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, announced that the mass demonstrations would continue “until they achieve their real goals.”

The protests, Hayya said, will continue until May 15, when Palestinians mark Nakba Day, the Gregorian calendar date for Israel Independence Day.

“Our Palestinian people will continue the marches and the intifada against the Israeli occupation until they achieve the right of return,” Hayya said, referring to the demand that Israel allow Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their former homes inside Israel.

Palestinian protesters burn an Israeli flag during clashes with Israeli forces near the border with Israel, east of Gaza city in the central Gaza strip, on April 13, 2018. (/ AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS )

“The burning of the Israeli flag [during the third Friday of the demonstrations] is proof that we don’t recognize this flag and its owners.”

On Friday, at least 10,000 Gazans took part in large-scale demonstrations, with the Israeli military saying protesters hurled an explosive device and firebombs at Israeli troops deployed at the border, as well as making “several attempts” to damage the fence between Israel and Gaza and cross over into Israeli territory.

Protesters torched tires and burned large Israeli flags, as well as posters of Israel’s prime minister and defense minister. Large plumes of black smoke from burning tires rose into the sky. They also burned pictures of US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Last Friday, about 20,000 Palestinians took part in the demonstrations, with the previous week attracting an estimated 30,000.

More than 30 Palestinians have been killed in the clashes over the part three weeks, according to Hamas-run health authorities. Hamas has acknowledged that several of those killed were its members, and Israel has identified other fatalities as members of terrorist groups.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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Arab Parliaments Call for Boycotting Any State that Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Arab Parliaments Call for Boycotting Any State that Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Sunday, 11 February, 2018 – 12:45
The heads of Arab Parliaments during their meeting in Cairo on Saturday (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Cairo – Asharq Al-Awsat

The heads of Arab parliaments called for severing relations with any state that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or transfers its embassy to it.

They also urged the Arab League to take decisive action against countries that did not abide by the international legitimacy’s resolutions by abstaining to vote in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution on Jerusalem on December 21.

In a statement issued at the end of the third conference of the Arab Parliaments and Arab Parliamentary Speakers in Cairo on Saturday, participants pledged to provide Palestine with the needed Arab support at all financial and political levels.

Voicing their rejection of US President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, which they described as a flagrant violation of international law, the Arab speakers warned that the US administration became an “untrustworthy peace sponsor and a distrusted broker in the Middle East peace process.”

In this context, they called on the United Nations to lead the Peace Process and preserve the sovereignty of Palestine and the legal status of Jerusalem in line with the UN resolutions and the 2002 Arab initiative.

The heads of parliaments decided to prepare an Arab parliamentary action plan in cooperation with the Arab Parliamentary Union and the Union of Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to expose the gravity of the racist laws approved by the Israeli Knesset and all the laws pertaining to the city of Jerusalem.

The current president of the Arab Parliament, Speaker Meshal bin Fahmi al Salami, said that the conference condemned Iranian interference in Arab affairs, as well as the Turkish intervention in Egypt and Libya.

He added that the participants issued a comprehensive document to combat terrorism, covering all the challenges posed by this phenomenon at the political, security, economic, cultural and media levels.

Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside Cairo  

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGLES TIMES)

 

Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside Cairo

Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside Cairo
The Sphinx and the historical site of the Giza Pyramids are illuminated as part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations in Giza, just outside Cairo on Oct. 24, 2015. (Amr Nabil / Associated Press)

 

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb near the country’s famed pyramids at the Giza plateau just outside Cairo, the Antiquities Ministry said Saturday, the latest discovery that authorities hope will help revive the country’s staggering tourism sector.

The tomb was found in a wider area of Giza’s western necropolis, which is known to be home to tombs from the Old Kingdom.

It likely belonged to a woman known as Hetpet, who archaeologists believe was close to ancient Egyptian royals of the fifth dynasty.

The tomb, unveiled to the media Saturday, is made of mud brick and includes wall paintings in good condition depicting Hetpet observing different hunting and fishing scenes.

Other scenes also depict a monkey — in pharaonic times, monkeys were commonly kept as domestic animals — picking fruit. Similar scenes have been found in other tombs belonging to the later 12th dynasty, according to the ministry’s statement. Another scene shows a monkey dancing before an orchestra.

This image taken from video on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, shows wall paintings inside a 4,400-year-old tomb near the pyramids outside Cairo. The tomb likely belonged to a high-ranking official known as Hetpet during the fifth dynasty of ancient Egypt, officials said.
This image taken from video on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, shows wall paintings inside a 4,400-year-old tomb near the pyramids outside Cairo. The tomb likely belonged to a high-ranking official known as Hetpet during the fifth dynasty of ancient Egypt, officials said. (Associated Press)

 

According to the ministry, the archaeological mission behind the discovery started excavation work in October. Archaeologists have been making discoveries near the site since the 19th century, and Mustafa Waziri, who led the mission, believes there is still more to be found.

“This is a very promising area. We expect to find more,” Waziri told reporters at the site. “We have removed between 250 and 300 cubic meters of layers of earth to find the tomb.

“What we see above the earth’s surface in Egypt doesn’t exceed 40% of what the core holds,” he added.

Waziri believes Hetpet had another tomb in Giza’s western necropolis and said that excavation work is underway to find that one too.

Hetpet is a known figure in Egyptian antiquity though her mummy has not been discovered. Fragments of artifacts belonging to Hetpet were found in the same area in 1909 and were moved to a museum in Berlin at the time, Antiquities Minister Khaled Anani said Saturday, speaking at the site to reporters and Western diplomats.

Despite all the discoveries already made about ancient Egypt, experts say they hope to find much more treasures — in part thanks to modern technology — still buried under the vast desert.

The area of the latest discovery is close to a new museum under construction that will house some of Egypt’s most unique and precious artifacts, including many belonging to the famed boy King Tutankhamun.

The first phase of Grand Egyptian museum is expected to be opened later this year, while the grand opening is planned for 2022.

In January, Egypt placed the ancient statue of one of its most famous pharaohs, Ramses II, at the museum’s atrium, which will include 43 massive statues.

Throughout 2017, the Antiquities Ministry made a string of discoveries across Egypt — including some in the southern city Luxor, known for its spectacular temples and tombs spanning different dynasties of ancient Egyptian history.

Egypt hopes the inauguration of the new museum, along with the recent discoveries, will draw back visitors to the country where tourism has been hit hard by extremist attacks and political turmoil following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and the authorities’ struggles to rein in an insurgency by Islamic militants.

The government has tightened security around archaeological and touristic sites and spent millions of dollars to upgrade airport security, especially following the 2015 downing of a Russian airliner over the restive Sinai Peninsula by the Islamic State group, killing 224 people on board.

The bombing dealt Egypt’s vital tourism sector a hard blow after Russia suspended flights to and from Egypt.

In December, Cairo and Moscow signed a security protocol and announced plans to resume Russian flights to the Egyptian capital, due to start this month.

Civilians fire back against Helwan (Egypt) church attacker  

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE EGYPT INDEPENDENT)

 

Video: Civilians fire back against Helwan church attacker



Video footage of the militant attack targeting the Church of Saint Menasin the Cairo’s suburban Helwan district has emerged, showing the militant opening fire against a number of civilians and security officials attempting to guard the church.

The militant exchanged fire with and killed a member of the security forces guarding the church.

A number of the civilians seized the gun of the killed security member and fired back towards the militant, but failed to kill him.

Another video showed a militant lying on the ground, injured after exchanging fire with security forces that arrived to the scene. Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahd said that this militant is now dead.

Nine people were killed and another ten injured in clashes after two armed militants attacked the church.

Security forces had already imposed barriers in the area surrounding the church, as a measure for heightening security procedure during the Christmas and holiday period.

Yet, despite this, the militants targeted the church, opening fire against the security checkpoint surrounding the church.

The second fled the scene, according to reports from state-run media outlets.

As an emergency measure following the attack, police and armed forces increased security and closed all churches inside the Helwan suburb.

At Least 10 People Killed In Shooting At Cairo Egypt Church

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

(CAIRO) — At least 10 people, including eight Coptic Christians, were killed after unidentified gunmen opened fire outside a church in a south Cairo suburb, Egypt’s Health Ministry spokesman said Friday. It was the latest attack targeting the mostly Muslim country’s embattled minority.

Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the attack outside the Coptic Church of Mar Mina left at least one policeman dead and eight others wounded, including two critically. The attack took place when two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire outside the church, he said.

Egyptian security officials said earlier that two policemen were killed in the shootout and the discrepancy was not immediately clear. The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

A video circulated on social media after the attack apparently shows the gunman lying on the ground. Authorities have closed off the area around the church.

Samir Gerges, a witness, said people inside the church closed the gates when the shootout began but bullets from the gunfire still entered the building. Gerges said he was walking in a nearby street when the shooting happened. He saw people running and some of them went to hide from the gunfire inside a nearby restaurant.

Raouth Atta, 40, was attending prayers inside the church when the shooting took place.

“Once the gunfire was heard, the gates were closed immediately,” she told The Associated Press over the phone. “People were terrified and wanted to check on their families in other buildings of the church. We stayed inside for 30 minutes before we were able to get out.”

Atta said that once she was let outside the building she saw blood scattered everywhere.

The spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church said in a statement that at least six people were killed in the attack, including five Copts and a policeman. It also said there was a separate attack on a store in the same suburb of Helwan that killed two Copts.

Egypt’s Christian minority has been targeted by Islamic militants in a series of attacks since December 2016 that left more than 100 dead and scores wounded. The country has been under a state of emergency since April after suicide bombings struck two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday in an attack that was claimed by the local affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population, have long complained of discrimination in the Muslim-majority nation, and say authorities have often failed to protect them from sectarian attacks.

Just last week, hundreds of Muslim demonstrators stormed an unlicensed church south of Cairo wounding three people. The demonstrators shouted anti-Christian slogans and called for the church’s demolition, the diocese in the area said at the time. The demonstrators destroyed the church’s contents and assaulted Christians inside before security personnel arrived and dispersed them.

Egypt FM in Ethiopia to End Standoff in Talks on Nile Dam

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt FM in Ethiopia to End Standoff in Talks on Nile Dam

Tuesday, 26 December, 2017 – 12:15
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (Reuters)
Cairo – Asharq Al-Awsat

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry is scheduled to head to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday to resume the negotiations with his counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu regarding the Renaissance Dam project on the Nile River.

The talks aim at breaking over the dam, which Addis Ababa is building on one of the main tributaries of the Nile.

Cairo said the dam would threaten water supplies that have fed Egypt’s agriculture and economy for thousands of years.

Ethiopia, for its part, said the dam, which it hopes will help make it Africa’s largest power exporter, will have no major effect on Egypt.

It accuses Cairo of flexing its political muscle to deter financiers from backing other Ethiopian power projects.

Egyptian officials said safeguarding the country’s quota of Nile water is a matter of national security.

“No one can touch Egypt’s water … (which) means life or death for a population,” President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said last month.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Ahmed Abou Zeid affirmed in a statement that this move comes in light of the Egyptian desire to end the standoff in talks on the dam’s specialized technical committee work.

Abou Zeid also said that Shoukry’s visit aims to express Egypt’s good intentions regarding cooperating and rebuilding confidence with Ethiopia to preserve both countries’ rights to Nile water.

Delegations from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met in Cairo in November to approve a study by a French firm commissioned to assess the dam’s environmental and economic impact.

However, negotiations stalled when they failed to agree on the initial report with each blaming others for blocking progress.

Shoukry is willing to bring new ideas and proposals to light to help the technical committee in its work, according to the statement.

The negotiations will also include discussing the details of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s visit to Egypt next January.