Egypt’s El-Sisi opens huge suspension bridge over the Nile

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday opened a suspension bridge over the Nile touted as the world’s widest. (File/Reuters)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Egypt’s El-Sisi opens huge suspension bridge over the Nile

  • 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
  • At its widest, the bridge has six traffic lanes in each direction and measures 67.3 meters (222 feet) across

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-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 El-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.”
On an inspection visit to the suspension bridge last month, El-Sisi denied reports the island could be sold to investors and said the state could not forcefully evict residents.
Other prestige projects launched under El-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.


Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

Updated 39 min 36 sec ago
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Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

  • ‘We are trying to help and to be mediators’
  • The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers

BAGHDAD: Iraq offered to mediate in the crisis between its two key allies, the United States and Iran, amid escalating Middle East tensions and as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers steadily unravels.
Iraqi foreign minister, Mohammed Al-Hakim, made the offer Sunday during a joint news conference in Baghdad with visiting Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“We are trying to help and to be mediators,” said Al-Hakim, adding that Baghdad “will work to reach a satisfactory solution” while stressing that Iraq stands against unilateral steps taken by Washington.
In recent weeks, tensions between Washington and Tehran soared over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Arabian Gulf over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.
The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran’s uranium enrichment activities in return to lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.
Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for militias throughout the Middle East that the US says destabilize the region, as well as address the issue of Tehran’s missiles, which can reach both US regional bases and Israel.
Zarif, who was been on a whirlwind diplomatic offensive to preserve the rest of the accord, insisted that Iran “did not violate the nuclear deal” and urged European nations to exert efforts to preserve the deal following the US pullout.
Speaking about the rising tensions with the US, Zarif said Iran will be able to “face the war, whether it is economic or military through steadfastness and its forces.” He also urged for a non-aggression agreement between Iran and Arab countries in the Gulf.
The mediation offer by Al-Hakim, Iraq’s foreign minister, echoed one made Saturday by Mohamad Al-Halbousi, the Iraqi parliament speaker. Al-Hakim also expressed concern for Iran’s spiraling economy.
“The sanctions against sisterly Iran are ineffective and we stand by its side,” Al-Hakim said.