Top News: Egypt Announces Indefinite Ceasefire in Gaza

The war in Gaza ended on Tuesday after Israel and the Palestinians agreed to halt fighting indefinitely, putting an end to seven weeks of catastrophic loss of life and destruction.


Moussa warns against postponing elections; Nour Party calls for dialogue on districting
In a statement on Wednesday, Amr Moussa, former secretary general of the Arab League, warned against postponing Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections. He argued that postponing the elections would betray Egypt’s January 25 and June 30 revolutions and the mandate that was given to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who Moussa stated is a product of unanimous consensus by the Egyptian people. Moussa’s statement comes after two lawsuits called for parliamentary elections to be halted due to security concerns. Meanwhile, the Nour Party called for a dialogue on electoral districting to be held before decisions are taken. The party has said that it will not join an electoral alliance until electoral districting is complete. A member of the party’s presidential council added that the council will meet Saturday to discuss electoral alliances, and that the party’s electoral alliance will be based solely on a political vision. [Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 8/27/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Building and Development party condemns dissolution of Islamist parties | DNE
  • Karama party head: Democratic Current Alliance meeting productive | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Assiut governor discusses development after new border demarcation | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Cabinet meets under Mahlab to discuss budget and citizens’ needs | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Giza governor: Border demarcation is still being studied | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Cabinet approves agreement to rent $109.95 worth of irrigation equipment from Islamic Development Bank | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Sisi issues presidential decree delegating tasks to four ministers | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Minister of education: Politics banned in schools | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Military tribunal preliminarily sentences seven to death
A military tribunal referred seven people to Egypt’s Grand Mufti on Tuesday to consider sentencing them to death on charges relating to terrorism. The defendants were arrested when police raided what they called a “terrorist cell” in Qalyubiyah in May. Eight people were killed in the raid, including two high-ranking military officers and six civilians identified as terrorists by Egypt’s armed forces. The defendants are accused of murdering armed forces personnel, resisting authorities, and possession of rifles, said Nasser Ahmed, a lawyer representing one of the defendants. The final ruling in the case is scheduled for September 23. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 8/26/2014]

Wife of imprisoned Morsi aide Khaled al-Qazzaz brings case to UN
The Canadian wife of an ex-aide to former president Mohamed Morsi, whose husband has been detained more than 400 days in solitary confinement, says she has brought a case to the United Nations this week, seeking support for his release. Khaled al-Qazzaz, secretary to Morsi on foreign affairs, was arrested in July 2013 along with Morsi and eight other senior aides. “His only crime is that he was a civil servant at his workplace at the time of the coup,” said his wife, Sarah Attia. [Reuters, 8/26/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Daughter of Brotherhood leader detained while visiting her father in prison | Mada Masr
  • Op-ed: What Egypt lost in the Al Jazeera trial | Al Monitor
  • Minya court sentences Brotherhood supporters to three years | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Defendants in Ismailia prison escape case released on bail | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Security forces arrest Brotherhood members responsible for violence in Suez | EGYNews (Arabic)


UAE to provide Egypt‘s petroleum needs at $9 billion for 1 year
In the coming week, the UAE is finalizing plans to provide financing for Egypt’s petroleum projects for one year, said an official at the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC). The agreement entails the UAE providing Egypt with diesel, fuel oil, petrol, and butane gas at a value of $800 million monthly. The agreement will begin in September, ending in August 2015. [DNE, Al-Borsa (Arabic), 8/26/2014]


World Bank financing for existing projects in Egypt totals $5.4 billion: Regional Director
The total in World Bank funding across 25 projects in Egypt has now reached $5.4 billion, according to the World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti Hartwig Schafer. Within the grant system, there are 54 projects totaling $202 million. [DNE, Al-Borsa (Arabic), 8/27/2014]


Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian pound steady against the dollar at central bank sale | Reuters
  • Egypt trade balance deficit declines 28.6 percent in May: CAPMAS | Cairo Post
  • Suez Canal development project studies to begin next week: Dar al-Handasah official | DNE
  • Insurance company offers policy worth EGP 50 million for Suez Canal workers | DNE
  • Military spokesman: 17.5 million cubic meters dug at Suez canal project | SIS
  • Daily increase of 100 million cubic feet of gas production in Egypt | DNE
  • Government seeking EGP 24 billion in tax arrears | DNE
  • Finance minister forms committees to receive appeals on property tax value | DNE
  • Stock market loses EGP 146 million | Egypt Independent
  • Tax authority chairman: late tax dues EGP 84.5 billion | Egypt Independent
  • Mamish: Suez Canal could raise Egypt’s future world trade income by 22 percent | Egypt Independent
  • Questions remain on Egypt’s Suez Canal project | Al Monitor
  • Supreme Council of Energy holds meeting under Mahlab’s chairmanship | Ahram Gateway (Arabic), Al Ahram (Arabic)
  • Oil minister: Imports of liquefied natural gas to begin in December | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Minister of industry to reform business climate in Egypt | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Cairo Institute for Human Rights sends memo to Sisi on NGO law
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights announced on Wednesday that it sent a memorandum to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expressing concern regarding Egypt’s ministry of social solidarity. The memo pointed out that civil society human rights organizations were involved in negotiations with the ministry under former minister Ahmed al-Boraie for six months, but that the ministry had decided to write off those efforts. The memo was signed by 23 civil society organizations, and demanded that the ministry withdraw its NGO draft law that was presented on June 26. It also called for a return to dialogue, and called on the ministry to stop attacking civil society and to reconsider its policy towards nongovernmental organizations. CIHRS said that the memo comes after civil society organizations exhausted all available means to address these issues. [EGYNews (Arabic), 8/27/2014]

Number of hunger-strikers in Egypt grow
Tanta political prisoner Diaa al-Mahdi is the latest in a series of detained activists to go on hunger strike. In an August 23 letter, Mahdi said he would join the activists in solidarity and begin a hunger strike until his release, said the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). Meanwhile, ANHRI also announced Tuesday that Mahienour al-Masry ended her hunger strike, saying that Masry’s reason behind the hunger strike was to show solidarity with jailed prisoners, mostly women and the elderly, and that she ended her hunger strike out of fear of such individuals’ health. The statement added that Masry emphasized full solidarity with all hunger striking political prisoners. [DNE, 8/27/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Student unions say university administrators want freedoms revoked | Ahram Online
  • Social Fund for Development spends 70 percent of allocations in 2014 | DNE
  • Egyptian blogger menaced for nude photo defiling Islamic State flag | Mada Masr
  • Laborers protest deadly working conditions, stalled factory production | Mada Masr
  • Mahlab stresses government’s desire to work to resolve street vendors’ problems | Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Giza governor says land must be identified for street vendors | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Minister of communication: EGP 35 million to be dedicated to support civil society organizations | Al Ahram (Arabic)


Security officer shot in border city of Rafah
Gunmen on Tuesday shot a soldier at a checkpoint near the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, army sources told Aswat Masriya. Also on Tuesday, Egyptian security forces destroyed a training camp belonging to Islamist insurgents in the restive Sinai Peninsula, the sources added. Security forces also destroyed five IEDs in Sinai, south of Sheikh Zuweid, while border guards in Rafah destroyed five tunnels, seizing 465 shotguns and 850,000 Tramadol pills, military spokesman Mohamed Samir, said in a statement on Facebook on Tuesday. [Ahram Online, 8/26/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Security forces arrest five suspected of involvement in Helwan Brigades | Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • ‘Organ harvesting ring’ broken up in 6th of October City: Qalyubiyah Security Directorate | DNE


Egypt announces indefinite ceasefire in Gaza
The war in Gaza ended on Tuesday after Israel and the Palestinians agreed to halt fighting indefinitely, putting an end to seven weeks of catastrophic loss of life and destruction. The negotiations for this latest cease-fire agreement were based on the initiative first proposed by Egypt in July, as well as the 2012 Cairo agreement brokered by former President Mohamed Morsi’s administration during Israel’s Operation Returning Echo. The Egyptian foreign ministry confirmed Tuesday that an indefinite ceasefire has been reached between Palestinian factions and Israel, with both sides claiming to have forced the other into the agreement. Indirect negotiations between both parties, sponsored by Cairo, will resume within a month after the start of the new ceasefire. The agreement includes the opening of the crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip for efficient reconstruction and the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, where infrastructure was badly damaged during the conflict, as well as an extension of the Gaza fishing zone to six nautical miles. Full details of the ceasefire agreement can be found here. The US State Department said it “strongly supports” the ceasefire, and US Secretary of State John Kerry lauded Egypt for its efforts in reaching the agreement on Tuesday, a sentiment shared by the United Kingdom’s Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood. According to state news agency MENA, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described Egypt’s role in the negotiations as “essential and historical in its support of the Palestinian cause.” [AP, Reuters, SIS, The Guardian, Egypt Independent, 8/27/2014]

US issues contradictory statements on Egypt’s role in Libyan air strikes
The US State Department on Tuesday backed off an earlier statement that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were behind air strikes on Islamist militants in Libya. The State Department’s Jen Psaki and Pentagon’s Rear Admiral John Kirby both said they understood that airstrikes were undertaken by the UAE and Egypt. The State Department, however, issued a statement later on Tuesday amending Psaki’s earlier remarks, stating that her comment was “intended to refer to countries reportedly involved, not speak for them.” Egypt reiterated its statement that it was not involved in the airstrikes. Meanwhile, the AP reported on Tuesday that a US official said the United States was aware that Egypt and UAE were planning strikes and warned them against it. On Wednesday, Libya’s foreign minister announced Egypt has decided to train the Libyan police, army and all their subsidiary bodies, and will collaborate with neighboring countries to collect illegal arms. Libyan Chief of Staff, Abdel Razek al-Nazuri, said President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi promised to provide the Libyan army supplies, training and technical consultations. [Reuters, Mada Masr, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), The Guardian, 8/27/2014]

Sisi to attend UN General Assembly’s 69th session in New York
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is scheduled to embark on his first trip to the United States in September since his election as president. The president will represent Egypt in the United Nations’ General Assembly’s 69th session, due to begin on September 16. Sisi will then attend the UN Climate Summit, scheduled for September 23 in New York, according to a presidency statement. [Aswat Masriya, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 8/27/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt will never oppose development of Nile basin countries: water minister | DNE
  • Egypt conveys communiqué on Libya meet to UN, AL, UNSC chiefs | SIS
  • Tripartite committee solves nearly all dam issues: Egyptian minister | Ahram Online
  • Sisi to receive irrigation minister report on Ethiopia dam talks | SIS
  • Minister of irrigation accepts invitation to visit Renaissance Dam | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Fifth round of negotiations on Renaissance Dam expected | SIS, Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan agree on impact studies on Nile dam | MENA/Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Minister says Egypt’s approval of Ethiopian dam depends on study results | Mada Masr
  • Egypt, Ethiopia agree on controversial dam’s mechanisms | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt buys 175 tonnes of Russian and Romanian wheat for shipment in September | Reuters, Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Egypt, British ambassadors discuss strengthening bilateral relations | EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Shoukry and Arab Parliament chairman discuss cooperation | EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • UN commends Egyptian police units in peacekeeping forces | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Italy deports 46 Egyptians attempting to illegally enter the country | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Transport minister inaugurates Qustul crossing | DNE, Ahram Gateway (Arabic), Al Ahram (Arabic)
  • Army chief of staff meets with Libyan counterpart to discuss cooperation | Ahram Online, Ahram Gateway (Arabic)