Russian Defense Ministry says Egypt to Buy Advanced Weapons from Russia

Egypt plans to buy advanced weapons from Russia, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered federal service for military-technical cooperation to rapidly respond to an Egyptian request to buy armaments, Russian Interfax agency reported. It’s not yet known what type of weapons Egypt plans to buy. Russia also asked Egypt to sign a protocol by which Russian warships may cross the Suez Canal and pass through Egyptian territorial waters, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday. Shoigu’s announcement comes after a two-day visit to Egypt, where he met President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Egyptian Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, and the Russian Ambassador to Cairo. During his meeting with Sisi, Antonov said Russia appreciates Egypt’s role in achieving security and stability in the region, according to a statement released by the Egyptian presidency. A Russian news agency quoted Antonov saying that Russia will respond in coming weeks to Egypt’s armaments and combat hardware requests. Shoigu and Sobhi agreed to maintain close contact on issues of military and technical cooperation, he added. Russian media reports said earlier that Russia may sign a deal with Egypt for the delivery of Kamov Ka-52K helicopters developed for the Mistral-class amphibious ships and the corresponding equipment. Egypt previously purchased two Mistral-class ships from France after an original French-Russian deal fell through. Chief of the Kremlin Staff Sergei Ivanov said the sum of the weapons deal might exceed $1 billion. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 11/25/2015]


Parties announce more preliminary election results
With the first round in the second stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections over, more parties are announcing preliminary results. The Conference Party said two of its candidates secured seats in the For the Love of Egypt coalition, with another five participating in the runoffs for individual seats. The Free Egyptians Party, after having previously said none of their candidates won in the first round, have since announced one candidate has secured a seat. The Future of the Nation Party said it has fifty candidates in the runoff, with candidates securing seats in the For the Love of Egypt list. Hafez Abu Seada, head of the independent Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) and member of the Conservatives Party, also reportedly secured a seat in the first round. Tawfiq Okasha, owner of al-Faraeen channel, along with former Wafdist leader Fouad Badrawy and another independent candidate, Bassem Falayfel, are in the runoffs competing over one seat. Preliminary estimations place turnout in this round of elections at 32.5 percent. [Ahram Online, 11/24/2015]

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Kuwaiti fund to finance Egyptian projects with $1.5 billion
The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development announced plans to allocate $1.5 billion to finance Egyptian projects, particularly projects in the housing sector. The money will be delivered in annual instalments of $300 million over five years, according to the fund’s General Director Abdulwahab Ahmed al-Bader. It is not yet clear whether the financing constitutes a loan or a grant. The fund also signed a $95 million loan agreement with Egypt to assist in financing the Egyptian side of a power interconnection project between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The loan represents 15 percent of the total cost of the Egyptian share of the project and is to be repaid over twenty-five years at 2.5 percent interest rate. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 11/24/2015]

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Luxor residents and security clash after suspect’s alleged death by torture
Clashes erupted between local residents and security forces Wednesday outside a police station where eyewitnesses alleged that a man was tortured to death a few hours after his arrest. A security official at the police station denied the allegations of torture, telling al-Mogaz that he died of a heart attack. Residents of the al-Awamyia district surrounded the Luxor police station few hours after Tarek Shabib, 47, was arrested Tuesday evening. Clashes erupted when residents discovered that Shabib’s dead body had been transported to Luxor hospital. Security forces dispersed the protests, shooting live bullets in the air and firing teargas at the residents. The forces cordoned the district following the protest dispersal. [Cairo Post, 11/25/2015]

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Death toll of Arish attacks rises to seven
The death toll of North Sinai’s hotel attacks increased to seven, in addition to the three militants involved in the attacks, a security source told state run MENA news agency Tuesday evening. The source said that four policemen, two judges, and a civilian were killed in attacks which targeted Swiss Inn Hotel in al-Arish where judges overseeing the second phase of the parliamentary elections and journalists covering the electoral process were staying. According to Ahram Online, eight were injured in the attack, two of whom, including a judge, are in critical condition. Ahead of the ongoing parliamentary polls, the State Litigation Authority enacted an insurance policy with the Misr Insurance Company for members of the legislative body overseeing the electoral process. The policy stipulates that EGP 1 million (about $127,000) is to be paid out in cases of death and EGP 750,000 (about $94,500) in cases of disability. Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zend confirmed that a compensation of EGP 1 million would be paid to each of the families of the slain judges and prosecutor. Meanwhile, a survivor of the attack told CBC Tuesday that the security measures outside the hotel were “not enough.” Tarek Naguib, the head of a sub-polling station in North Sinai, and one of some 130 judges operating in the Swiss Inn Hotel, said after voting ended on Monday, the number of armored vehicles and security forces was “reduced.” He added that “security should end when the judges leave.” Naguib likened the intensified security at the two-storey hotel when they arrived as a “state of war,” saying that “once the polling stations were closed and results announced,” everything disappeared. In related news, a South Giza court was evacuated on Wednesday following a bomb warning, which turned out to be a false alarm, according to Egypt’s Justice Ministry. Upon inspection, bomb experts said it was a ‘false alarm,’ and was not a bomb, according to al-Ahram. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 11/25/2015]

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Egypt, Israel rebuff bid to trim Sinai peacekeeping force says official  
The US-led peacekeeping force in Sinai will remain unchanged after Egypt and Israel rebuffed proposals to trim it by about a fifth, an Egyptian official said on Tuesday. Created to monitor the demilitarization of the Sinai and ensure the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace accord, the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) and some of its twelve contributor countries have considered changes to its deployment and mandate. They worry about the safety of the almost 1,900 peacekeepers after six were wounded in September by a roadside bomb. Some have argued that dismantling more remote and vulnerable posts would not significantly set back the mission–especially at a time when Egypt and Israel say their counterinsurgency ties are closer than ever. But both Egypt and Israel favor the MFO status quo and, at a review meeting held in Rome last week and attended by a US delegation, they stood firm, according to one Egyptian official. MFO and US officials had no immediate comment. An Israeli official declined to discuss the Rome meeting but appeared to confirm common cause over maintaining the MFO. [Reuters, 11/24/2015]

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