Egypt’s President Calls for Expanding Cooperation with African States

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

 

Egypt’s President Calls for Expanding Cooperation with African States

Wednesday, 7 August, 2019 – 10:45
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during his meeting with the prime minister and several ministers. Photo provided by the presidency
Cairo – Asharq Al-Awsat
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has chaired a meeting aimed at discussing ways to expand cooperation with countries in the African continent.

The meeting brought together Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and several ministers, including the ministers of electricity and renewable energy, finance, health and housing, trade and industry, agricultural and land reclamation, in addition to the head of General Intelligence.

Spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency Bassam Rady said Sisi “gave instructions to expand the scope of cooperation with African countries and build bridges of communication with them.”

He also advised to work hard in drafting and improving the mechanisms for joint African action.

The meeting addressed the steps taken to implement Egypt’s plan of action for taking over the African Union presidency, especially with regard to achieving economic integration after the enforcement of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in May and the official launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area during the latest exceptional AU summit in Niamey, Niger, said Rady.

It also tackled Egypt’s efforts to support infrastructure projects in Africa, such as the Cairo-Cape Town Highway as well as power and railway interconnection projects, which seek to boost continental integration, the spokesman added.

In a related development, several Egyptian and African lawmakers stressed during a meeting hosted at the Egyptian parliament the importance of issuing joint legislation and exchanging expertise.

They also shed light on the necessity of improving the investment climate, mainly in agriculture.

10 Most Populated Cities in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Most Populated Cities in the World

Earth is home to more than 7.7 billion people and we have to put them somewhere. For millions of people, cities are that somewhere, with everyone existing next to each other with varying degrees of comfort. These are the 10 most populated cities in the world, according to the World Population Review.

Osaka, Japan | 19.2 Million

Credit: xavierarnau/iStock

For tourists, Osaka is about two things. The first is eating. The Japanese term “kuidaore,” which translates to “eat yourself broke” or “eat until you drop,” is frequently used to describe the city. The second is shopping. The city is full of stores, outlets, malls, bodegas, stalls and vendors. Between those two, you should have a pretty good idea of what your itinerary will be full of in Osaka.

Beijing, China | 20 Million

Credit: SeanPavonePhoto/iStock

There’s some irony in the fact that 20 million people have such ready access to the Forbidden City, a palace that traditionally carried strict, and often fatal, punishment for unauthorized visitors. Though not ironic is the fact that Beijing remains the seat of the Chinese government. That was the original point of the Forbidden City, after all.

Mumbai, India | 20.2 Million

Credit: saiko3p/Shutterstock

Mumbai is another one of those old cities that was renamed by the British empire, and has made the modern decision to change back. That’s why some readers may recognize the name Bombay, which was the name of the city up until 1995, when the political party Shiv Sena came to power in the city. Whatever you call it, there are a lot of people living in the city.

Dhaka, Bangladesh | 20.3 Million

Credit: travelview/Shutterstock

For a city with so many people, we haven’t heard a whole lot about Dhaka. It’s the capital of Bangladesh, so that’s something. It kind of makes it seem like a city of more than 20 million people is some kind of well-kept secret. Not to Bangladeshis, obviously, but to the rest of us.

Cairo, Egypt | 20.5 Million

Credit: Prin Adulyatham/Shutterstock

Unlike the other cities on this list, Cairo’s population growth is apparently on track for disaster. Just 11 years from now, in 2030, the city’s projected to hit 119 million and the government’s scrambling for solutions. Hopefully they figure something out quickly because 11 years is pretty much the blink of an eye when it comes to city planning.

Mexico City, Mexico | 21.7 Million

Credit: DC_Colombia/iStock

Mexico City’s origins are in some very cool terraforming done by the Aztecs. They expanded a small natural island in Lake Texcoco into an island large enough to house their fortified city, Tenochtitlán, by dumping dirt into the lake until the island was big enough. Today, the sprawl of Mexico City has far exceeded what the island could have held.

São Paulo, Brazil | 21.8 Million

Credit: f11photo/Shutterstock

São Paulo’s size caught us a little off guard. Rio de Janeiro is in the news so often that it’s almost like the default Brazilian city. But São Paulo’s population beats Rio’s by millions. It’s a financial center for Brazil but doesn’t sacrifice culture to achieve it. Case in point, São Paulo’s ethnic diversity is huge, with reasonably large Jewish, Japanese, Italian and Arab populations, among others.

Shanghai, China | 26.3 Million

Credit: Sven Hansche/Shutterstock

The fact that Beijing wasn’t the most populous city in China was a little surprising, though we’d say Shanghai would have been our second guess for “largest Chinese city.” Shanghai’s a great place to experience the convergence of old and new Chinese culture and certainly has enough going on that you won’t be bored. Lost maybe, but not bored.

Delhi, India | 29.4 Million

Credit: hadynyah/iStock

Delhi is expanding so much that it’s approaching the next step in the development of cities, where the word city may not even apply anymore. Megacity gets closer, but we’re almost thinking that a modernized form of city-state might be more appropriate. City will work for now, but we imagine there’s going to be an etymologically significant conversation happening in the Indian government soon.

Tokyo, Japan | 37.4 Million

Credit: yongyuan/iStock

Tokyo was the only city that could possibly be expected to top this list, even if you didn’t know the exact population. It’s huge and full of people, two things that seem like simple statements until you actually put them in context. It’s constantly brought up in conversations about population density, city planning and the psychology of living in a huge modern city and is the place to watch if humanity’s going to understand its urban future.

Egypt Has Succeeded in Destroying Terror Infrastructure, Says Sisi

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

 

Egypt Has Succeeded in Destroying Terror Infrastructure, Says Sisi

Monday, 1 July, 2019 – 11:45
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Reuters file photo
Cairo – Mohammed Abdo Hasanein
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Sunday that his country has succeeded in destroying the infrastructure of terrorist organizations six years after the June 30 revolution that toppled former president Mohamed Morsi.

The Muslim-Brotherhood affiliate was deposed on July 3, 2013, following widespread popular protests against his one-year rule. He died during his trial on June 17.

In an address to the nation on the sixth anniversary of the June 30 revolt, Sisi said it wasn’t but a cry to express the patriotism of millions of Egyptians, which have been embraced by their country and their ancestors over the years.

“The loyalty of Egyptians to their country and their rejection of any attempt to erase their national identity are facts that can’t be changed with time,” Sisi noted.

He said that his people are loyal, and their belonging to their nation and identity marks a priority.

“Masses of Egyptians in the June 30 Revolution marked a path for us to walk through,” Sisi said, noting that their priority is to protect and preserve the country and then improve it in order for Egypt to become a developed nation that provides next generations decent opportunities and a life that is compatible with the 21st century.

He pointed out that over the past years, the country has managed to avoid suffering from chaos, fragmentation and conflicts.

“We have managed to destroy the infrastructure of terrorist organizations that tried to weaken the country.”

Sisi said Egypt had launched Comprehensive Operation – Sinai 2018, in which bloods were shed to eliminate “forces of evil and darkness.”

“Our armed forces and police personnel succeeded in protecting the nation and preserving its dignity until Egypt became a hub for stability, security and peace amid a turbulent regional environment,” Sisi said.

He pledged to maintain Egypt’s security in order to build a nation worthy for the next generations.

Egypt has been witnessing sporadic terrorist attacks since 2013, especially in the northern Sinai Peninsula, mainly by armed elements associated with ISIS organization.

Egypt: Sisi Calls For Countering Extremism With Enlightened Thinking

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

 

Sisi Calls For Countering Extremism With Enlightened Thinking

Monday, 3 June, 2019 – 10:45
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a speech during his swearing in ceremony on June 2, 2018, for a second four-year term in office, at the parliament meeting hall in Cairo. | Egyptian presidency / AFP
Cairo- Mohamed Nabil Helmy
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for strengthening efforts to confront extremism through an enlightened religious and intellectual discourse.

Speaking during a celebration of the Night of Decree (Laylat al-Qadr), Sisi the people’s behaviors could affect the image of their religion negatively or positively in other nations’ views.

“Strong religion could be weakened by its believers’ behaviors,” the Egyptian president said, adding that Muslims should represent Islam in a good way through their practices.

Sisi warned against the dangers of Islamophobia and called on religious scholars to raise the moderate religious awareness and combat extremism among the youth, adding that the enlightened religious discourse was the best way to fight extremist ideology.

Since his accession to power in 2014, Sisi has focused on the issue of “renewing religious discourse.” His official speeches and interventions at public events often include a call to religious scholars to use moderate rhetoric.

The president expressed his regret at the presence of some hardline and extremist intellectuals, who make Muslims feel insecure.

“We have been killed by our own people for years and we spent a huge amount of money on our security [to be protected] from this ideology,” he stated.

“Our main objective is to preserve the essence of religion and to educate young people to understand the dangers of radical thought on the one hand and the magnitude of challenges and risks on the other,” Sisi added.

Egypt’s Sisi Opens Huge Suspension Bridge over the Nile

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

 

Egypt’s Sisi Opens Huge Suspension Bridge over the Nile

Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 – 11:15
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday opened a suspension bridge over the Nile touted as the world’s widest, one of a series of military-led, mega-projects designed to improve infrastructure and provide jobs.

The bridge, which crosses the Nile just north of central Cairo, is a key link in a highway stretching from the Red Sea in the east to Egypt’s northwestern Mediterranean coast, and is meant to help reduce congestion in the capital.

Traffic ground to a halt in parts of central Cairo on Wednesday morning as Sisi traveled to open the bridge with ministers and military generals.

At its widest, the bridge has six traffic lanes in each direction and measures 67.3 meters (222 feet) across. A regional director for the Guinness Book of World Records present at the opening said that makes it the world’s widest suspension bridge.

Around one million cubic meters of concrete as well as 1,400 km (2,268 miles) of steel wire for 160 suspension cables were used in its construction, according to a presentation given at the formal opening.

The bridge crosses the Nile’s Warraq Island, which has an estimated 100,000 residents, some of whom have protested against planned demolitions on the island and plans to develop it into a “modern residential community”.

Other prestige projects launched under Sisi include an expansion of the Suez Canal, completed in 2015, and the building of a new capital in the desert east of Cairo that is currently under construction.

Egypt: Life Sentences For 53 Defendants In ‘Nahda Events’

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

 

Egypt: Life Sentences for 53 Defendants in ‘Nahda Events’

Monday, 6 May, 2019 – 09:00
A protester reacts during demonstrations in Cairo January 29, 2011. (File photo: Reuters)
Cairo – Asharq Al-Awsat
An Egyptian court on Sunday handed life sentences to 53 people for participating in the “Muslim Brotherhood” gathering at al-Nahda Square in Giza in 2013.

Two others were given a one-year prison sentence, while 10 were acquitted of the charges during a retrial.

The total number of defendants in the case is 379, including 189 detainees.

The court also ordered the accused to pay EGP 2 million to Orman Park, EGP 10 million for Giza province, and EGP 25 million to the Engineering Faculty at Cairo University for damages.

The prosecution accused the defendants of organizing a gathering in Nahda Square, putting the lives of citizens at stake, resisting police forces responsible for dispersing the rally, premeditated murder and carrying unlicensed weapons and ammunition.

Last month, the Court of Cassation rejected 66 appeals in the same case, upholding the verdicts.

The court also acquitted 115 defendants and terminated the criminal prosecution of two defendants after they died. All defendants were fined EGP 39 million for the damages they caused at the zoo, al-Orman, Giza Governorate, and Engineering Faculty at Cairo University.

On August 14, 2013, the Egyptian security services broke up two protests- the Rabaa sit-in in Cairo, and the Nahda protest in neighboring Giza – following the toppling of the regime of former president Mohamed Morsi, who is considered a terrorist by the authorities.

In addition, the Criminal Court of Cairo decided to adjourn Morsi’s retrial, along with a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and top officials in the lawsuit known as the “illegal crossing of eastern borders.”

The trial was postponed to Saturday after a number of detained defendants failed to appear in court.

Palestinian Authority Rejects Direct Arab Support To Hamas

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

 

Palestinian Authority Rejects Direct Arab Support to Hamas

Monday, 29 April, 2019 – 08:15
Head of Hamas delegation Saleh Arouri and Fatah leader Azzam Ahmad sign a reconciliation deal in Cairo, Egypt, October 12, 2017. (Reuters)
Ramallah – Asharq Al-Awsat
The reconciliation between Hamas movement and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has seen no development in the past few weeks, according to informed Palestinian sources.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Fatah’s position remains unaltered and that it had informed the Egyptian leadership that there was no need for any dialogue with Hamas, but rather it should implement the reconciliation agreement of 2017.

The sources pointed out that the policy of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, will restrict the money that reaches Hamas. They indicated that the Authority does not want to keep an ATM for Hamas and do not want any Arab funds to reach the movement directly.

The funds must come through the PA, because it’s capable of employing them to provide relief to Gaza Strip. Otherwise, it will be a direct support for Hamas.

A Fatah delegation recently visited Cairo and conveyed fears to Egypt regarding the ceasefire in Gaza, especially the flow of money to Hamas. Fatah has rejected suggestions from regional countries for a meeting of Palestinian factions.

Fatah says there won’t be any meeting with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements before they recognize the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people, and there will be no meetings regarding reconciliation.

In the context, Secretary of the Central Committee of Fatah, Major General Jibril al-Rajoub said that Hamas is required to take practical steps to end the division.

Rajoub noted that the movement should do what’s necessary to establish a national front based on fortifying the national project based on an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital within the 1967 borders and the return of refugees.

He stressed that Hamas must first remove all forms of its authority in Gaza, return the government to the Strip to carry out its duties and its responsibilities as the Palestinian national government from Rafah to Jenin.

Rajoub noted that the concept of partnership is embodied in a genuine democratic process, such as the recent elections of student councils in the universities of the West Bank.

Earlier, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said he was ready to meet with Abbas in order to restore national unity in the face of the “deal of the century”.

“Hamas has no veto on any meeting that would ensure unity and end the division in order to provide elements of perseverance and confrontation against the deal of the century,” Haniyeh explained.

“Reconciliation and unity are urgent demands… We don’t want an alternative to the PLO,” he added.

Haniyeh’s remarks on the PLO were in response to previous accusations by its officials against Hamas.

PLO officials had previously said that the movement was seeking to form an alternative to the organization. It had called on all Palestinian factions to boycott a supreme body that Hamas has been trying to form on the pretext of confronting the deal of the century.

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.