Top News: Ahmadinejad in Cairo at Start of Historic Egypt Visit

Morsi Ahmedinijad AFP.jpg

Gulf region security is an extension of Egyptian security, Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said on Monday, a day before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cairo, alluding to fears regarding increasingly warm Egypt-Iran relations. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian head of state to visit Egypt since 1979


Morsi calls for another dialogue next week
President Mohamed Morsi is planning a second national dialogue session next week, and would invite all political forces to take part, the president’s office said in a Facebook statement posted Monday. All efforts to reach consensus over how the dialogue should operate are welcome, the statement said, adding that it appreciates the al-Azhar document regarding the current instability that was issued last Thursday. The dialogue’s agenda would be open to address whatever national issues political forces deem essential. There is no alternative to secure democracy and diminish political divisions besides the dialogue, the statement added. Morsi also restated his respect for peaceful protest and that human rights serve as the basis for dealing with citizens. [Egypt Independent, DNE, Ahram (Arabic), 2/4/2013]

NSF to march in mass demo Friday, al-Gamaa al-Islamiya postpones ‘protest against violence’ to Feb 15
The National Salvation Front (NSF) announced on Monday it would take part in a mass demonstration called "Departure" that is planned for Friday. None of the revolution’s demands have been achieved, claimed NSF leaders. They added that they call on all citizens to continue protesting until the front’s demands of forming a national salvation government, dismissing the prosecutor general and amending disputed constitutional articles are met. Nabil Zaki, spokesperson for the Tagammu Party, said his party plans to participate in the "Departure" protest as well as any marches the NSF plans. Tareq Tohamy, member of the Wafd Party’s supreme body, said his party also planned to participate. Islamist group al-Gamaa al-Islamiya and its political arm, the Building and Development Party, announced that it will hold mass demonstrations on Friday 15 February at Cairo University. The group was intending to hold the protest on 8 February, but delayed it after several Islamist parties, including the Salafist parties Nour and Watan, declined to join. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 2/4/2013]

FJP to run individually in elections, except in Upper Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political branch, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), plans to run on an individual ticket for the upcoming parliamentary elections, with the exception of some Upper Egypt governorates. There, the FJP would run as part of a coalition with Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Construction and Development Party. The FJP’s executive office presented a final list of candidates to part president Saad al-Katatny on Monday. Forty percent of candidates from the previous election were substituted with new names, with a priority given to youth, women and Coptic candidates. Karem Radwan, a member of the Shura Council and the FJP’s supreme body, said Islamic parties intend to run individually so as to determine their real impact in the street. [Egypt Independent, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
National Security Committee in Shura discusses demonstrations law | Shorouk (Arabic)
Culture minister resigns for third time | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, DNE
Enough protests and watching TV, let’s start building Egypt: Prime minister | Ahram Online, SIS


Egyptian prosecutors request names of officers from Friday’s clashes
The Egyptian prosecutor-general’s office asked the interior ministry on Monday for the names of the officers and security personnel responsible for securing the presidential palace on Friday. Protester Hamada Saber was stripped naked by police officers after a demonstration at the presidential palace on Friday turned violent, when a number of protesters and security forces clashed. Judge Ibrahim Saleh, head of the Heliopolis prosecution branch, sent a letter on Monday to the interior minister’s first assistant for Central Security – the division that deals with demonstrations – requesting the list as part of an investigation to find out the perpetrators of the brutal attack. [Ahram Online, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Lawyers call for reviewing emergency law | DNE
Egypt Court Lifts Assets Freeze on Mubarak-Era Officials | Bloomberg


Central Bank takes new measures to prevent pound slide
The dollar dropped against the pound by about eight piasters on Monday after the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) decided to cancel the commission that had been placed on currency exchange offices, a move that currency dealers said was intended to slow the pound’s recent slide in value. In a related measure, the CBE can now only buy or sell dollars or their equivalent to other banks in a band of 0.01 pounds above or below the weighted average bid at the Central Bank’s regular currency auctions, one dealer told Reuters, to keep exchange officers from selling pounds at less-than-official value. [Egypt Independent, 2/4/2013]

Finance Ministry: State revenues up, but so is inflation
State revenues jumped by 31 percent during the first half of the fiscal year 2012/2013, reaching LE153 billion as compared to LE116.6 billion in the first half of 2011/2012. The boost came after tax revenues were raised by 39.3 percent, and non-tax revenues by 13.4 percent. The deficit to GDP has gone down, according to the report, reaching 1.8 percentage points during these 6 months, compared to 1.9 percentage points during the same period last year. The total annual inflation rate, however, rose to 4.7 percent last December, from 4.1 percent in the month before. [Egypt Independent, Reuters, 2/4/2013]

Salafist Nour Party wants to raise Egypt’s minimum wage
Egypt’s Salafist Nour Party submitted a draft law on wages to the upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, through party members Salah Abdel Mabood and Ahmed Youssef on Monday. The Shura Council will open the discussion over the draft law on Wednesday, al-Ahram’s Arabic-language website reported. Under the terms of the draft legislation, the minimum wage would reach LE1200 ($178) per month and it would cover workers in the public and private sectors, whether permanent or temporary. [Ahram Online, DNE, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s presidential palace clashes take toll on local businesses | Ahram Online
Egypt’s net foreign reserves fell by $1.4 bn in January | Ahram Online
Ministry: Country’s diesel reserve only enough for three days | Egypt Independent
Suez canal rate hike risks diverting ships round Cape -industry | Reuters


President Morsi discusses security situation with SCAF
President Mohamed Morsi met with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on Monday to discuss the national and regional security situation. More than 50 people have died in violent protests since the second anniversary of January 25 Revolution. The meeting was held at the Ministry of Defense, a presidential source told the al-Ahram Arabic website. The generals presented their assessment of the internal and external security situation to the president, the source said. The presidency is unlikely to issue a report on the contents of the meeting, the source added. [Ahram Online, SIS, 2/5/2013]

Current interior minister capable of reforming police: FJP Deputy Head
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Deputy Head Essam al-Erian expressed his sorrow over the deaths of the two protesters, Mohamed al-Gendy and Mohamed al-Qorany (known as Kristy), and the beating of Hamada Saber on Friday but said the current Interior Minister was capable of reforming police. “The repeated incidents, of which the latest was the beating of Hamada and the death of al-Gendy and Kristy, and in which police officers are accused of killing and torturing cannot be ignored and should not be accepted by any human being and should be considered a violation of the constitution and the law,” said al-Erian using his facebook page. [Ahram Online, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Slain activist’s funeral march leads to attack on Tanta police station | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Child abuse in Egypt: 91 children detained after Cairo’s latest clashes | DNE
MOI: 396 injured police since Egypt violence erupted | Aswat Masriya


Brotherhood slams interior minister, defends Morsi
Leading figures from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party slammed the Interior Ministry on Monday, accusing the ministry of bearing responsibility for the torture and death of protesters. Yasser Hamza, a member of the Brotherhood’s legal committee, said the interior minister is responsible for the torture and death of activist Mohamed al-Gendy, a member of the Popular Current who was kidnapped from Tahrir Square on 28 January and fatally assaulted. The minister is also to blame for the stripping and beating of Hamada Saber by Central Security Forces in front of the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace on Friday, he asserted. Hamza explained that the Constitution stipulates that the Cabinet is responsible for domestic matters, while the president only bears responsibility for foreign affairs. [Egypt Independent, 2/4/2013]

Islamist Coalition, Brotherhood figure says NSF has foreign agenda to destroy Egypt
The National Salvation Front (NSF), formed in the aftermath of President Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional declaration in November, has a foreign agenda that targets burning Egypt and its institutions through protests that demand downfall of the president, said Mohsen Rady, member of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)’s supreme body and party secretary in Qalyubiya. Those killed during incidents at the presidential Ettehadiya Palace are not martyrs, but saboteurs, Rady told al-Masry al-Youm in an interview posted on its website on Monday. Calls by the NSF demanding the downfall of Morsi’s rule are part of a “foreign agenda that targets destroying the country and spreading chaos,” he said. [Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic), 2/4/2013]

After caller insults Morsi, radio anchor investigated for defamation
Radio anchor Reyada Samir is reportedly under investigation for defaming President Mohamed Morsi after a caller allegedly insulted the president on her show. Samir, an anchor for the Sports and Youth radio station, was hosting a live show on Sunday at 2 am. The program proposed several political issues to discuss with the audience, and one caller allegedly insulted Morsi on the airwaves. The anchor reported that after her show ended, she was surprised to find that she would be investigated on defamation charges for thanking a caller who insulted Morsi. [Egypt Independent, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Man sets himself on fire at electricity ministry in Cairo | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Protest staged in solidarity with Ettehadiya clashes victim | Egypt Independent
April 6 to march for ‘Jika’ on Wednesday | Ahram Online
State should apologize for sexual harassment, says NCW chief | Egypt Independent
No accurate numbers for dead and injured from latest wave of violence | DNE


Ahmadinejad in Cairo at start of historic Egypt visit
Gulf region security is an extension of Egyptian security, Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said on Monday, a day before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cairo, alluding to fears regarding increasingly warm Egypt-Iran relations. Egypt’s bilateral relations with any country would not come at the expense of Gulf security, Amr said in a press briefing on the sidelines of preparations for the Islamic Solidarity Organization conference to be held in Cairo. Before his arrival, the Iranian president was quoted as saying that both countries should reach a consensus over regional issues, especially given the "fundamental changes" that the Middle East is witnessing. Mojtaba Amani, director of the Iranian affairs office in Cairo, said that Tehran is willing to continue consultations with Cairo aimed at reaching a political settlement to the Syrian crisis. Ahmadinejad’s visit was criticized by the Salafist Call, stressing their opposition to any "Shia influence on Sunni Egypt." [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Shorouk (Arabic), 2/5/2013]

US condemns violence in Egypt
The United States government on Monday has strongly condemned the violence which took place in Egypt over the weekend. US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said during a press conference that the US was “deeply disturbed by these incidents, including sexual assaults against women and the beating of a defenceless man [Hamada Saber] last week”. Nuland said the US is aware the government had apologised for beating Saber, and stressed the need for investigations into such incidents. The State Department spokesperson also expressed concern over persisting violence against women, which “is preventing women from exercising their right to peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression”. [DNE, Egypt Independent, Reuters, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Foreign ministry following UAE detainee cases | DNE
Islamic Cooperation representatives meet to discuss controversial points in closing statement | Shorouk (Arabic)

Photo: AFP


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