Top News: Sisi to Address UN General Assembly Monday Evening

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be addressing world leaders in the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly on Monday evening. According to state news, Sisi’s speech will tackle youth and development, combating extremism, and the need for a coordinated international effort to fight it. Sisi will hold talks with world leaders including the French President Francois Hollande, Yemeni President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. Sisi met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday, where according to Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef, he praised the role of German companies in Egypt’s economic development. Youssef added that Merkel praised the cooperation and coordination between Egypt and Germany in politics and the economy. Sisi also spoke at the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) summit on Friday. He met on Saturday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and attended a high-level roundtable on South-South cooperation cochaired by China and the United Nations. He said that developing countries must increase their focus on international economic cooperation. Later on Saturday, during an interview with AP, Sisi said that the Middle East needs to defeat a worsening terrorist threat that has led to a “ferocious war” in Egypt and warned that some countries are “sliding into failure.” Sisi met on Sunday with a number of world leaders, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Senegalese President Macky Sall, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with his Mexican counterpart Claudia Ruiz Massieu on Sunday on the sidelines of the conference. Shoukry assured Ruiz Massieu that the investigation into the accidental killing of Mexican tourists earlier this month is still ongoing. [Aswat MasriyaSIS, 9/28/2015]


Parliamentary candidates violate law, campaign during Eid says observation mission
According to a report issued Monday by the International-Local Mission of the NGO Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights to observe elections, many parliamentary candidates took the opportunity to distribute “meat and other presents to residents in their electoral constituencies.” The move by the candidates was in violation of the laws set by the High Elections Committee (HEC), which scheduled the official start date for campaigning for September 29. The final list of eligible candidates is due to be announced on Monday. The HEC also denied reports that it plans to resort to the Supreme Administrative Court to challenge rulings issued by some administrative courts over the parliamentary elections. [DNE, 9/28/2015]

New health insurance law to cover all citizens
Egypt’s Health Ministry is finalizing a draft law for a comprehensive health insurance system to cover all citizens, Health Minister Ahmed Emad al-Din Rady said on Sunday. The Minister said that the new public health insurance system will benefit around 10 million Egyptians who live in poverty, according to a survey by the Ministry of Social Solidarity. He added that the state will bear the cost of the proposed health care system, allocating 3 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP) to fund it. [Aswat Masriya, 9/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Five questions for a parliamentary candidate: Amr al-Mekky | Mada Masr
  • A guide to the 2015 Egyptian parliamentary elections | Ahram Online
  • Meet Egypt’s Free Egyptians Party | Ahram Online


Eight pardoned prisoners remain in jail; Salwa Mehrez released after misspelling causes delay
As of Sunday evening, at least eight of the 100 prisoners granted a pardon by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reportedly remain behind bars. Human rights lawyer Rajia Omran, who is also a member of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), says the delay in these cases is due to “a bureaucratic evaluation of their legal status.” The pardon stipulated that it included prisoners who had received final sentences, in addition to several cases for health and personal reasons. “However, it seems that the ministry is a little hesitant about prisoners who have more complicated cases than just a final verdict,” Omran said. “The presidential pardon should have confirmed that the names on the list should be released despite their exceptional legal statuses.” Activist Salwa Mehrez was released from prison Saturday evening, after her release was delayed due to the misspelling of her name on the official list of those pardoned. Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has indicated journalist Peter Greste could soon be granted a pardon by the Egyptian government. Bishop said Shoukry made it clear Egypt would work around current laws to pardon him. “Foreign Minister Shoukry informed me there was a technical or legal hurdle because he was not present in Egypt for the trial and that causes some technical problem,” she said. “However, he made it clear they would either change the law or the president would consider being able to use his power as president to achieve the same result.” [DNE, Aswat Masriya, 9/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • April 6 founder Amr Ali appears in Tora Prison | DNE
  • Belly dancer Safinaz acquitted of Egyptian flag insult | AMAY


Sisi announces planned shift to VAT regime, meets with World Bank head
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced Egypt’s plan to  introduce a value-added tax (VAT) regime as part of major economic reforms. In an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Sisi said the VAT regime, along with a simplified tax system for small and medium-sized enterprises, will “raise revenues and bolster investment incentives by boosting growth, creating jobs and improving firms’ cash flow.” Sisi said Egypt is aiming for 5 percent growth during the current fiscal year, “driven by rising foreign direct investment, and the implementation of various new energy, infrastructure and agricultural reclamation projects.” He stated that Egypt’s chief economic objective are “to ensure long-term sustainability by correcting the country’s previous fiscal imbalances…to create a dynamic, competitive and private-sector-led platform for growth, and to restore confidence in the investment climate.” Meanwhile, in a meeting with Sisi on Sunday, World Bank Head Jim Yong Kim expressed his support for Egypt’s efforts to strengthen the economy. Sisi also held meetings with the US Chamber of Commerce and the US Egypt Business Council. [AP, 9/28/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Number of tourists in Egypt rose by 8.2 percent in 2015: CAPMAS | Ahram Online
  • Egypt tourism industry expects moderate growth in 2015 | Reuters
  • Fiscal challenges weaken Egypt’s credit quality | Gulf News
  • EGAS publishes Eni’s gas development plan | Al Borsa (Arabic)
  • Egypt to start building nuclear power plant within days | MENA
  • Egypt might lease Mistral warships to China says Russian agency | Egypt Independent
  • Fuel crisis continues in three governorates | AMAY
  • Egypt aims at increasing fish production to two million tons in two years | MENA
  • New vision to increase industrial growth rate by 1.5 percent annually says Qabil | DNE


CPJ calls on Egypt to release jailed journalists 
The New York-based watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), has called on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to free dozens of journalists who are currently being held in Egyptian prisons. “We call on you to ensure the release of all journalists who are behind bars for carrying out their professional responsibilities,” the group said in an open letter to Sisi. “Members of the press everywhere should be able to work openly and freely without fear of reprisal, harassment or imprisonment,” it added. “While we welcome the presidential pardon of the Al-Jazeera journalists, the reality remains that journalists are still being arrested, harassed and threatened… at unprecedented levels in Egypt,” the CPJ said. [Anadolu Agency, 9/26/2015]

Egypt does not receive directives on NGOs work says Wali
Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali denied Saturday that Egypt receives directives from “anyone,” whether international, regional, or local bodies, on the work of NGOs in the country. The minister also defended the disputed NGO law, denying accusations that the law cripples the work of the organizations. She added that since its issuance in 2002 some organizations “that work under its umbrella achieved large successes.” She also stated that the ministry drafted a new law that is under revision, to be applied with the assembly of the new parliament. [DNE, MENA, 9/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Movement against new Civil Service law to escalate protests | AMAY
  • Pro-Morsi students call for protests despite minister’s warning | AMAY
  • Egypt begins new school year; minister hopes for ‘stability’ | Ahram Online
  • Thirty percent of Nile ferries do not abide by the law says report | AMAY
  • Water scarcity in Qena village causes hardship among residents | AMAY
  • As many as 399 Egyptians return home from Libya via Salloum crossing | MENA
  • What’s new in public schools this academic year? | Mada Masr
  • 128 cases of verbal harassment in Cairo on third day of Eid: I Saw Harassment | Cairo Post


Rights group accuses authorities of negligence in Tora Prison inmate’s death
Emad Hassan, a prisoner at the Tora detention facility, died on Friday in what family members and activists have called willful neglect by prison officials regarding adequate medical care for prisoners. The comments come in light of a recent National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) report which gave an uncritical review of the controversial facility, claiming no major violations of prisoners’ rights during their visit. Photos of Hassan’s emaciated body spread on social media, sparking conflicting accounts on whether he received proper medical treatment as a cancer patient. Local rights group, the Egyptian Coordination of Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), claimed in a statement on its Facebook page that Hassan was “deprived” of “urgent surgery.” The statement added, “All medical reports confirmed his need for treatment.” Speaking to Aswat Masriya, an unnamed Interior Ministry source denied any wrong-doing.  Blaming prison officials for his death, the official continued, constitutes “lies” and “allegations” spread “by the Muslim Brotherhood.” He explained that Hassan was taken to hospital after falling ill, when doctors discovered that he had stomach cancer. Doctors routinely saw him, “but the cancer was discovered late, which is why they failed to treat it,” he said. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, 9/27/2015]

Egypt says police killed militants who attacked Italian consulate
The Ministry of Interior said in an official statement that nine ‘terrorists’ allegedly involved in the July bombing of the Italian consulate in Cairo were killed by Egypt’s security forces during a raid in Giza on September 25. According to the statement, the ‘terrorists’ were killed in an exchange of gunfire with security forces. The statement added that weapons, explosive belts, and vehicles were confiscated from the property. Three police officers and two conscripts were injured in the raid. Hours before the Interior Ministry issued its statement, unnamed officials had reportedly told Reutersthat security forces killed nine members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in the same operation. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 9/25/2015]

Sinai State claims killing of two Egyptian policemen in North Sinai

Two police conscripts were killed and sixteen others were injured on Saturday when an IED detonated in North Sinai, according to an Interior Ministry announcement. Sixteen other soldiers were injured in the explosion. The IED, claimed by Sinai State, the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) affiliate in the peninsula, was placed inside of a parked car, and detonated when an armored security vehicle passed near it during a patrol in al-Arish. [Ahram Online, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, DNE, 9/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Ninety minute military drills end over Cairo airport’s airspace, says sources | AMAY


Netanyahu welcomes Sisi’s call for Israel peace in more Arab countries

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Sunday Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s call “to expand peace with Israel” to encompass more Arab countries, said Netanyahu’s spokesman.
Sisi made the statements in an interview with the Associated Press in New York, that Egypt’s nearly 40-year peace should include more Arab nations as part of the effort to solve the Palestinian issue. “PM Netanyahu again calls on PA President Abbas to return immediately to the negotiating table in order to advance the diplomatic process,” the Israeli statement also said. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 9/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Netanyahu welcomes Sisi’s call for Israel peace in more Arab countries | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Italy deports twenty-two Egyptians for illegal immigration | Ahram Online, DNE
  • US welcomes Egypt’s pardon of prisoners | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Pope Tawadros II arrives in Addis Ababa | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Tawadros II heads Sunday mass in Ethiopia | Ahram Online, AMAY
  • Egypt death toll from hajj disaster rises to fifty-five | DNE, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
  • Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister hails ‘positive’ developments with Egypt and Sudan | Ahram Online
  • Technical committee of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will meet in first week of October | MENA
  • Global Fund accuses Egypt of fraud in spending AIDS and TB grants | Mada Masr
  • Forty-four African judges in Egypt for training | Cairo Post