Egypt, UAE mark 50 years of relations

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Egyptian PM Mostafa Madbouly welcomes UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammed Abdullah Al-Gergawi in Cairo. (Photo shared by Egypt’s Minister of Planning & Economic Development Hala Elsaid on Twitter)
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A photo shared on Twitter by Egypt’s Minister of Planning & Economic Development shows Egyptian and Emirati officials attending the celebrations in Cairo. (Twitter: @halaelsaid)
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Egypt’s Minister of Planning & Economic Development Hala Elsaid, also chairperson of The Sovereign Fund of Egypt, speaks during the celebration. (Twitter: @halaelsaid)
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Updated 28 October 2022
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Egypt, UAE mark 50 years of relations

  • More than 1,800 top figures attend anniversary celebrations in Cairo
  • President El-Sisi praises UAE for supportive position during difficult period about 10 years ago

CAIRO: More than 1,800 figures, including senior officials, businessmen, investors, intellectuals, innovators and media professionals are attending the 50th-anniversary celebrations of Egypt-UAE relations being held in Cairo from Oct. 26-28.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammed Abdullah Al-Gergawi attended the celebrations held under the slogan “Egypt and the UAE are one heart.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said: “These relations set a perfect example of the strong ties that bind the two countries and peoples.”

In his speech at the celebrations, El-Sisi added: “The Egyptian and Emirati peoples will always remain united. Over the decades, the strength of Egyptian-Emirati relations has not changed; in fact, it has grown sturdier. Mutual understanding, fraternity and consensus characterized the relations between them.

“Egypt prides itself in sharing understanding and views with the leaderships of the UAE since the days of (its) great founder … late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, who is celebrated for his historic pronouncement ‘Arab oil is not dearer than Arab blood.’”

El-Sisi praised the supportive position of the UAE during the difficult period that Egypt went through about 10 years ago.

UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan tweeted: “We are very proud to celebrate 50 years of friendship and cooperation between the UAE and Egypt.

“Together with my brother, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, we continue to strengthen and build upon these longstanding ties for the long-term benefit of our people and the region.”

Dubai ruler and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum tweeted: “The UAE is celebrating 50 years of fraternal, stable, and advanced relations with Egypt today.

“We also celebrate the beginning of 50 new years under the leadership of my brother, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and my brother Mohammed bin Zayed, the president of the state, may God protect him … Egypt and the UAE are one heart.”

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, said Egypt and the UAE have special and distinguished ties.

A documentary on Egyptian-Emirati relations entitled “Half a Century of Love” was shown on the occasion. It chronicled bilateral relations between the two countries at all levels — diplomatic, economic and political. 

Madbouly praised the spirit of brotherhood and cooperation behind the launch of the celebrations and said that Egypt has always been keen to contribute to the UAE through various efforts.

He also praised the commercial and industrial partnerships between the two countries, the increase of which in recent years has reflected positively on the volume of Emirati investments in Egypt and the number of Emirati companies operating in the Egyptian market.

Mariam Khalifa Al-Kaabi, UAE ambassador to Egypt, said the coming period will witness more cooperation between Egypt and the UAE in the field of environment and climate change, especially since the COP27 climate conference organized by Egypt in Sharm El-Sheikh is a few days away, while the UAE will organize the next COP28 climate conference.

She said the UAE is the largest investor in Egypt, and more than 1,250 Emirati companies operate in Egypt in all economic sectors.

She also noted that Emirati investments in Egypt are likely to increase due to the high return on investment, in addition to the successes achieved by the Egyptian economy despite the COVID-19 pandemic.


Egyptian foreign minister discusses Gaza aid situation with UN official

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (REUTERS)
Updated 4 sec ago
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Egyptian foreign minister discusses Gaza aid situation with UN official

  • The outcomes of Kaag’s talks with Israeli officials to ease the movement of aid trucks at the crossings were also discussed

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag discussed the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in a phone call on Tuesday.

Kaag’s call addressed the impediments imposed by Israel on aid access, and the exacerbating gravity of the humanitarian disaster in the strip.

Shoukry was keen to know the UN official’s plans to mitigate the severity of the crisis facing Palestinian civilians in the strip.

The outcomes of Kaag’s talks with Israeli officials to ease the movement of aid trucks at the crossings were also discussed.

Both exchanged views on the process of rushing aid via the Rafah crossing in view of Israel’s destruction of the Palestinian side of it.

Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s rejection of the loot of some aid in Rafah and the Israeli side’s non-commitment to protecting it and ensuring that it reaches those who deserve it.

Both agreed to continue coordination and consultation on the humanitarian situation in the strip.

 


Israeli air force commander confirms ‘increase in readiness for any attack on Lebanon’

Updated 25 min 21 sec ago
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Israeli air force commander confirms ‘increase in readiness for any attack on Lebanon’

  • German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrives in Beirut for talks following meetings in Tel Aviv and the West Bank
  • Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, holds talks at HQ of the Maronite Patriarchate focused on ‘finding solutions for Lebanon and its suffering people’

BEIRUT: Fighting between Hezbollah and the Israeli army continued in regions along the border between Lebanon and Israel on Tuesday, with artillery exchanges and drone strikes in both directions.

During a meeting with Ori Gordin, the head of the Northern Command, Israeli Air Force Commander Tomer Bar confirmed “an increase in readiness for any attack on Lebanon,” Russia Today reported.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah said it carried out “an attack with assault drones on a brigade headquarters in Nahal Gershom, targeting the positions and settlement of enemy officers and soldiers.” The group said it also attacked “the Bayad Blida and Birkat Risha sites.”

The Israeli army targeted the outskirts of the town of Khiam and the village of Blida with artillery and warplanes. In the Wazzani area, a Syrian driver was forced to jump from his truck for his life when the Israeli army opened fire on it with machine guns.

Israeli combat drones launched from Misgav Am dropped shells on the border town of Taybeh. No injuries were reported as the town, like many close to the border, has been abandoned by residents.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrived in Beirut on Tuesday evening following meetings in Tel Aviv on Monday and the West Bank on Tuesday. She was expected to meet Lebanese officials to discuss the situation in southern Lebanon and Israel’s threats of an expanded war against Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who is also visiting Lebanon, held talks at the headquarters of the Maronite Patriarchate that focused on “finding solutions for Lebanon and its suffering people.”

He said there is a deep political rift between Christians in Lebanon and Hezbollah over the latter’s decision to go to war without consulting the state, the group’s demands relating to the selection of a candidate to fill the post of president, which has been vacant since October 2022, and the disruptions it has caused during parliamentary sessions to discuss the election of a new president.

The vice president of the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council, Sheikh Ali Al-Khatib, declined an invitation to attend a lunch hosted by the Maronite Patriarchate in honor of Parolin, to which all Islamic and Christian spiritual authorities and the heads of Christian political parties in Lebanon were invited.

A council source said: “The sheikh did not take part in the meeting in protest against positions expressed by the Maronite patriarch, Bechara Al-Rahi, concerning the resistance.”

In his most recent Sunday sermon, Al-Rahi objected to the failure to elect “a president who negotiates according to constitutional powers, and asks the UN Security Council to implement its resolutions. This means that Lebanon will not go back to being a launching pad for terrorist actions that destabilize the region’s security and stability.”

Al-Khatib is considered a supporter of Hezbollah. His representative, Grand Jaafari Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Qabalan, criticized Al-Rahi’s sermon without naming him, saying: “There is no neutrality when it comes to what is right and there should be no bias toward what is wrong.” He also spoke of “the resistance’s role in protecting the church in Syria and Lebanon in the face of Daesh and Al-Nusra attacks.”

When Lebanon’s religious leaders met Parolin, Al-Rahi called on all Christians in the country “to consider next Sunday as a day of prayer for peace in southern Lebanon and Gaza.”

During a ceremony hosted by the Embassy of Malta, Parolin stressed the “importance of the church in Lebanon being a testament to coexistence, which is one of the most significant characteristics of the ‘Land of the Cedars.’”

He added: “Lebanon is suffering from a great vacuum and a diminishing Christian life,” as he called on officials “to elect a president as soon as possible to calm the situation and overcome the current difficulties.”


Libya repatriates 170 Nigeria migrants, plans more returns

Updated 25 June 2024
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Libya repatriates 170 Nigeria migrants, plans more returns

  • The operation was announced by Mohammed Baredaa, head of the Libyan interior ministry organization tasked with halting irregular migration
  • These operations would “continue over the coming weeks,” he said

TRIPOLI: Libya said it repatriated 174 irregular migrants to Nigeria on Tuesday, including dozens of women and six children, with further returns planned in the coming weeks.
The operation was announced by Mohammed Baredaa, head of the Libyan interior ministry organization tasked with halting irregular migration.
Baredaa said the department had begun “to repatriate 174 irregular migrants of Nigerian origin,” including 39 women and the six children.
These operations, which are carried out by plane or road depending on the nationality, would “continue over the coming weeks,” he said.
The International Organization for Migration, or IOM, helps vulnerable migrants blocked in Libya or who wish to go home to do so through its voluntary humanitarian return program.
Smugglers and human traffickers have taken advantage of the climate of instability which has dominated Libya since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.
Libya, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Italy, is a key departure point in North Africa for sub-Saharan migrants risking sea journeys to Europe.
“I have been in Libya for three years to work and earn money and move to Europe,” Zakaria Abubaker Shueib, a 20-year-old Nigerian migrant set to be repatriated, told AFP.
An IOM report said migrant deaths or disappearances rose to 4,984 last year on Middle East and North Africa routes, compared with 3,820 in 2022.
“Tunisia accounts for the highest number of incidents recorded followed by Libya with 683 recorded deaths” of migrants, the majority of whom left western Libya, said the report published in mid-June.


US warns Israel-Hezbollah conflict could spark regional war

Updated 25 June 2024
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US warns Israel-Hezbollah conflict could spark regional war

  • “Another war between Israel and Hezbollah could easily become a regional war, with terrible consequences for the Middle East,” Austin said
  • Gallant said that “we are working closely together to achieve an agreement but we must also discuss readiness on every possible scenario”

WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant at the Pentagon on Tuesday, warning that a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah could spark a regional war and urging a diplomatic solution.
More than eight months of war in Gaza has heightened tensions across the region, with Israeli forces and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah exchanging fire on a near-daily basis.
“Another war between Israel and Hezbollah could easily become a regional war, with terrible consequences for the Middle East,” Austin said. “Diplomacy is by far the best way to prevent more escalation.”
Gallant, speaking at the opening of the meeting with Austin, said that “we are working closely together to achieve an agreement but we must also discuss readiness on every possible scenario.
The Israeli army said last week that plans for an offensive in Lebanon were “approved and validated” amid escalating cross-border clashes, but Washington is seeking to lower the temperature and head off another major conflict in the Middle East.
Gallant is on a visit to Washington seeking to reaffirm the value of ties with Israel’s top ally after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly chastised the United States for what he said was a delay in weapons deliveries.
The US government insists that only one shipment of bombs has been held up over concerns about their use in populated areas, and that other arms deliveries are proceeding as usual.
The United States is Israel’s main supplier of weapons but the growing death toll from the Gaza conflict has piled pressure on President Joe Biden to take action and fueled tensions between his administration and Netanyahu.
Gallant met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington the previous day, with the top US diplomat calling on Israel to avoid escalation in Lebanon.
The Israeli minister also held talks with CIA chief Bill Burns, the key US point man in negotiations to free hostages from Hamas, which launched an unprecedented attack on Israel in October that sparked a devastating conflict in Gaza.
Netanyahu has said Israeli forces are winding up the most intense part of the Gaza war and will redeploy to the northern border, although he has cast the move as defensive.
Israel and Hezbollah last fought a full-scale war in 2006 when a cross-border Hezbollah attack sparked 34 days of fighting that took a heavy toll on Lebanon, especially the country’s south.


Gaza suffers near total breakdown of law and order, UNRWA chief says

Updated 25 June 2024
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Gaza suffers near total breakdown of law and order, UNRWA chief says

  • Local police are refusing to escort aid convoys for fear of being killed, Lazzarini added, while humanitarian truck drivers were regularly being threatened or assaulted
  • Among the other challenges, he named a near-drought in gasoline supplies which brought the UNRWA vehicle fleet to a halt on Monday

GENEVA: Chaos is taking hold in Gaza as smuggling bands form and add to the difficulties in delivering aid, the head of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency said on Tuesday.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said it had become “excruciating” to deliver aid and voiced concerns that such conditions would impact efforts to counter the high famine risk confirmed by a global hunger monitor’s report on Tuesday.
“Basically, we are confronted nowadays with a near total breakdown of law and order,” Lazzarini told reporters, blaming in part an increase in gangs who are attacking aid trucks in the hopes of finding smuggled cigarettes stashed among aid supplies. “It’s becoming more and more complicated (to deliver aid),” he added.
Local police are refusing to escort aid convoys for fear of being killed, he added, while humanitarian truck drivers were regularly being threatened or assaulted.
Among the other challenges, he named a near-drought in gasoline supplies which brought the UNRWA vehicle fleet to a halt on Monday. Israel vets fuel shipments into Gaza and has long maintained that there is a risk they are diverted to Hamas.
“We need sustainable, meaningful, uninterrupted aid in the Gaza Strip if we want to reverse the hunger situation,” Lazzarini said, adding that the operating environment is not conducive to doing so.
Israel, which launched its Gaza military operation after deadly Hamas attacks on southern Israel on Oct. 7, says it has expanded efforts to facilitate aid flows into Gaza and blames aid agencies for distribution problems inside the enclave.
Established in 1949 following the first Arab-Israeli war, UNRWA provides services including schooling, primary health care and humanitarian aid in Gaza and the region.
Earlier this year, 16 countries paused payments to the agency following Israel’s claims that some UNRWA staff were linked to Palestinian armed groups.
Lazzarini said all but two of those countries, the United States and Britain, had since resumed financing after a
review
of the agency’s neutrality showed Israel had yet to provide evidence for its accusations.
It now has enough funding to finance operations until the end of August, he added.